Portrait of Einar Forseth

Axel Fridell

(Falun, 1894 - 1935)

Portrait of Einar Forseth

Oil on canvas
55.5 x 46.5 cm
Signed and dated Axel Fridell Sthlm 1914

Biographical information: 
- Stockholm, National Museum, Axel Fridell, exh. cat., September-October 1936 
- Copenhangen, Statens Museum for Kunst, Axel Fridell, exh. cat., April -June 1981 
- Stockholm, National Museum, Axel Fridell, exh. cat. April-August 1987 

Axel Fridell studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm where he showed a particular talent for printmaking. He realized paintings mostly during the 1920s, before turning his focus almost exclusively to prints. He was Sweden’s most important graphic artist of his time and showed a preference for etching, in particular dry-point etching with its painterly, tonal qualities. In recognition of his eminent position, the Axel Fridell Society was inaugurated in Falun in 2003; it holds a number of works by the artist and organizes exhibitions. The British Museum owns several prints by Fridell including several fine portraits in drypoint.

Stemming from Sweden’s realistic pictorial tradition, Fridell’s art also received the influence of Manet and Munch and later on that of Rembrandt as well as English and French graphic masters of the 19th century. The first of several visits to London took place in 1926-27 and he also travelled to Paris and Holland. His works, which include portraits, landscapes and cityscapes often reflect the dark aspects of existence and can express a mood of anxiety.

Many of his early portraits depict friends and acquaintances from Stockholm artistic milieu. Einar Forseth (1892-1988) was an artist. He studied in Gothenburg and Stockholm before travelling extensively around Europe. He painted landscapes and designed numerous mosaics and stained glass windows for the Stockholm City Hall, churches and concert halls, as well as the Coventry Cathedral. His work is in the National Museum and Moderna Museet, Stockholm and in the Swedish National Portrait collection at Gripsholm Castle.

A 1914 print with the portrait of Einar Forseth was exhibited in Stockholm in 1936 (see lit., cat. n. 205).