Karl (Charles) Portin 1889-1980

Karl (Charles) Edvard Portin was born in Nedertorneå on 11th October 1889. He was a Swedish painter.

Portin moved to Germany in 1910 and studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden) for a year before attending Grand Ducal Saxon College of Fine Arts (Großherzoglich-Sächsische Kunstgewerbeschule Weimar) in Weimar - which in 1919, was renamed Bauhaus (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar) by its new director Walter Gropius - between 1911 and 1914.

Portin left Germany in 1914 continue the art studies in Paris. At the outbreak of WWI Portin travelled briefly to England (in the hope of being able to study in London) before returning to Mattila, Sweden in 1915.

Portin returned to Germany in 1919 before settling in Paris where he studied under Marcel Gromaire (1892-1971) and Fernand Léger (1881-1951). Portin married Hildegard Wiegand in 1928 and they remained in Paris until 1940 (when the occupation forced them to return to Sweden). During their time in Paris Portin exhibited several times with Salon d'Automne, Salon des Tuileries and Salon des Indépendents and made numerous study trips to London, Vienna, Warsaw, Amsterdam, Egypt and Italy. After the war exhibited Portin exhibited with Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (1947).

Portin's other exhibitions include Galerie St. Lucas, Stockholm (1944); Louis Hahne Art Academy (1950); Expo Aleby (1952); Malmö (1945 and 1948), Norrköping (1952); Florence (1956); Rome (1957); Milan (1958) and Cairo (1959).

Portin was a member of the Artists Nationwide Organization (Konstnärernas riksorganisation) and was awarded the Norrbotten County Council Culture Award (Norrbottens Landstings Kulturpris) in 1973.

Examples of Portin's work are held in the collections of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Norrköping Art Museum, Örebro County Museum, Borås Art Museum, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Modern, Rome and the Cairo State Art Museum.

Karl Portin died in Helsingborg on 16th January 1980, aged 90.


The Salon des Réalités Nouvelles

The Salon des Réalités Nouvelles is an association of artists (and an art exhibition) in Paris, which focuses on abstract art. The exhibition takes place annually in October and ranks among the top Parisian art salons.

The expression 'Réalités Nouvelles' (New realities) was penned in 1912 by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. He viewed abstraction as the best way to express modern reality.

The first exhibition was held in 1939 in Galerie Charpentier, organised by Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Nelly van Doesburg and Fredo Sidès. In 1946 the Salon was officially established as a successor to Abstraction-Création by Fredo Sidès, and its first board included Jean Arp, Sonia Delaunay and Albert Gleizes as members. Sidès was chairman until his death in 1953.

With enthusiastic critical support in its early days, the Salon quickly proved successful, presenting geometric and concrete works by artists such as Jean Dewasne and Victor Vasarely as well as non-figurative works by Pierre Soulages, Georges Mathieu, Vieira de Silva, and Robert Motherwell.