Olle Olsson Hagalund

28 November 20157 February 2016
Previous exhibition

Olle Olsson Hagalund, Odenplan, 1960s. Photo: Björn Petrén

Olle Olsson Hagalund could be called an expressive naivïst, but the word “unique” would also suffice. Few artists in Sweden have been so loved by so many!

This autumn’s exhibition at Sven-Harrys Konstmuseum invites the public to enjoy works of art from private collections that have rarely been shown. Several are, of course, scenes from Hagalund in Solna, Olle Olsson’s beloved neighbourhood that was practically razed in the 1960s, when the politicians wanted to tear down the old to make way for new, “functional” high-rise apartment blocks. 

But Hagalund was not the only thing to capture his eye; he loved wandering around Stockholm and its surroundings and found motifs at both Odenplan and out on Djurgården, to name but a few places. 

Olle Olsson Hagalund, Woman With Red Rose, 1940s. Photo: Björn Petrén
Olle Olsson Hagalund is painting. Photo: Rein Välme-Alpha

His family had a summerhouse on Gullholmen at the west coast, where he filled his salt-stained canvases with wizened fishermen and bathing beauties in the coves. Olle Olsson loved being on the west coast among the people there, whom he found to be similar to his neighbours in Hagalund. He came to the same conclusion when travelling the world: people and places were like Hagalund, whether he was in Paris with his wife Maja in the 1930s, or on his annual spring visits to Helsingør to see the budding beech forests.

Olle Olsson’s oeuvre is distinguished by his warm attitude to people. With indefatigable curiosity, he portrayed snobbish young ladies in their colourful, feathered hats, old cronies with headscarves wrapped round their wrinkled faces, fluffy-faced youthful footballers and adorable little girls in crisp tutus. All are tenderly portrayed, and he captured the mood by giving particular attention to details. A keen observer will find both bare-breasted women behind the lace curtains in the windows, and cleverly hidden self-portraits – like Hitchcock he made cameo appearances in his own paintings!

Olle Olsson Hagalund, city view.
Olle Olsson Hagalund, Victor, 1960s. Photo: Björn Petrén

Had Olle Olsson been among us today, he would probably have appreciated Sven-Harrys Konstmuseum in the heart of Stockholm. He would have been delighted with the kids in the park playing football and climbing trees in the summer and skating and tobogganing in the winter. The cafés would have been filled with people and flowerbeds in his paintings. Olle Olsson loved meeting places where the joys of everyday life were shared by young and old.

The exhibition is produced by Sven-Harrys Konstmuseum in collaboration with guest curator Anna-Karin Pusic.