Gunnar Johnsson 1917-2007

Gunnar Bertil Johnsson was born on 12th June 1917 in Malmö, Sweden. He was a Swedish painter.

Johnsson was a self-taught painter. His first study trip was to France in 1949 and then to Spain in 1951 and 1953. Johnsson married Majget Bertelson in 1950.

Johnsson's debut exhibition at Galleri Gummesons in 1951 was a critical success (Gummesons Gallery is one Scandinavia's foremost contemporary art galleries. Launched in 1912 by Carl Gummeson, a local book dealer, it quickly forged a reputation for supporting Modern Art).

MT-Stockholm Magzine wrote that the season's end came with a 'a first class and pleasing surprise' and that Johnsson's beautiful series of fine autumn paintings were both 'a shiny finish' to the season and 'an equally brilliant prelude to the young painter', who 'with this debut exhibition Gunnar Johnsson has emerged in the forefront of today's young Swedish painters'

Another critics wrote that his (abstract paintings) have 'a naturalistic weight and firmness... that sets him apart from most others'.

After Johnsson's debut at Galleri Gummesons in 1951, he exhibited at SDS-hallen in Malmö (1952) and an art salon (Östlingsin konstsalong) in Västerås - and participated in a group exhibition at the Skåne Art Association (Skåne konstförening) in Malmö in 1952. In 1953 he exhibited in Barcelona at the Galerias Jardin and was awarded a scholarship from the Royal Fund (Kungafonden) in 1955.

Johnsson's paintings had a sense of motion rarely seen in other abstract works of the time - Throughout his career, Johnsson was intrigued and fascinated by the Spanish light - The art critic Ulf Hard (Svenska Dagbladet) once compared Johnsson's work to that of the Swedish writer and artist Roland Kempe and commented that the 'the two found common ground in the Spanish environment.'

Johnsson went to to have several major exhibitions in Sweden, as well as in France and his beloved Spain. These include Galerie Bleue (1965, 1966 and 1976), Galleri Karlsson (1968), Maria Galleriet, Stockholm (1968 and 1978), the Engström gallery (1979) and Händer, Malmö (1980).

His works are included in collections of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Kungliga konsthögskolan), Moderna Museet and Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, the Liljevalchs konsthall and the Skåne Art Association (Skånes Konstförening) in Malmö

Johnsson died in Stockholm on 28th April 2007 at the age of 90.

Gunnar Johnsson