Vera Nilsson (1888-1979)

Swedish artist Vera Nilsson developed an expressionist style and subjects included the landscape of Öland and the Spanish Civil War.

The Swedish artist Vera Nilsson was born in Jönköping in 1888. Having trained as an art teacher, she continued her education at the Valand School of Fine Arts in Gothenburg and the Académie de la Palette in Paris. Inspired by van Gogh, Nilsson developed an expressionist style with powerful brush strokes and strong colours. Recurring subjects include landscapes, especially from the Baltic island of Öland, and also young children, the portraits conveying their individuality as human beings. The monumental painting Penning contra liv (1938) (Money versus life) was inspired by the Spanish Civil War: dominated by a huge tank full of men in black surrounded by share-certificates, the composition foregrounds the suffering of women and children. The painting is now at the Cultural Centre (Kulturhus) in Skövde. Nilsson played an instrumental role for the integration of art into the Stockholm underground, making a mosaic pillar at T-Centralen. In 1954 she was elected to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Kungliga Akademien för de fria konsterna). Nilsson is represented in a number of public collections, including Nationalmuseet and Moderna museet, Stockholm, and Konstmuseet, Gothenburg. She died in Stockholm in 1979.

Further reading:

  • Mereth Lindgren, A History of Swedish Art (Lund: Signum,1987).