Greta Gerell 

Greta Gerell 

Biography of Greta Gerell  ( 1898-1982 )

The daughter of the US Consul General in Stockholm, Greta Gerell was born in 1898. The second of three children, little Greta was particularly sensitive to the world of literature and music, which her mother - Anna Gerell Sellman, an excellent singer - introduced her to. Deciding to become a painter, young Greta began attending evening classes at the Althin School of Painting at the age of 15, a kind of preparatory institution for entry to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. She joined the Academy in 1915, becoming the youngest student at the institute. An excellent student, she was awarded the Ducal Medal in 1919 and the following year received a scholarship to continue her training in France.

In Paris in the 1920s, she attended the Grande Chaumière and André Lhote's school. Her friends included Picasso, Braque and Juan Gris. A great artistic emulation surrounded and nourished her.
Back in Stockholm, she found a studio and made regular trips to the island of Hemmarö, where she enjoyed the splendour of its landscapes. Her first love led her to explore post-Impressionist painting, playing with the tones and colours revealed by light and wild nature.

After a study trip to Munich and Italy in 1924, she worked assiduously and saw her works presented in a solo show for the first time in 1927 in Stockholm. It was an immediate success, and her talent was recognised by connoisseurs and praised by the critics.
She returned regularly to Paris in the 1930s before returning to Sweden when war broke out. She took refuge in Hemmarö and made studies of the sky, sea and clouds, from which she later painted landscapes.

After the war, she worked on "achieving the strongest expression with the simplest means", according to the rule of her friend, the actress Harriet Bosse. Her technique became more synthetic. Greta Gerell increasingly devoted herself to still life painting, painting "timeless objects". Like Morandi or Cézanne, she represents the mute existence of things, their intrinsic strangeness, their inner poetry.

Although landscapes continued to dominate her work until the 1950s, she never abandoned figures. She concentrated on their attitudes and gestures, so that she plunged us into the depths of their being, without folklore but with a reality that sometimes tended towards melancholy.

Numerous exhibitions in Copenhagen, Oslo, Paris, London and Baghdad in the 1960s gave Gerell a truly international reputation. In 1965, she won the hearts of Germans with her poetic still lifes.
In 1967, she created the Greta Gerell Foundation, to which she bequeathed her art and her fortune. The aim of the foundation is to provide financial support for anthroposophically-oriented educational programmes and to offer scholarships to their students.

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