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Pelle Swedlund | Symbolist painter

Per (Pelle) Adolf Swedlund [1865-1947] was a Swedish painter and curator at Thiel Gallery in Stockholm 1932-1946.
Pelle Svedlund was born, lived and died in Gävle. He was a pupil at the Swedish Academy (1889-92) and completed his education in Paris and Brittany, where he met Paul Gauguin and together they experimented in making woodcuts. His contact with the Nabis circle of painters lead him in 1898 to visit Bruges, a place which was to fascinate and inspire him throughout his career. At the turn of the century, Bruges, which was known as Bruges-La-Morte following Georges Rodenbach’s novel of that title, was a cult gathering place for Symbolist and mystical painters and writers and was particularly significant for certain Swedish painters.

The instant success of Oscar Levertin’s novel Brugge in Sweden provided a context for the understanding of Swedlund’s paintings. Various ancient towns in Sweden gained something of the same reputation as Bruges had throughout Europe; Birka and Visby attracted their own communities of artists, and Svedlund visited both of these places. Svedlund travelled widely; he was well known as a painter in Italy where he lived for various periods between 1903-1912. One of his paintings with a twilight mood is illustrated in the Italian journalist Vittorio Pica's book on Swedish art, Arte Ed Artisti Nella Svezia Dei Giorni Nostri 1915, (Casa Editrice D’Arte, Bestetti e Tummelini, Milano, 1915 page 170). 

From 1932-1946, Svedlund was the curator of the Thielska Gallery in Stockholm. Among the members of the Association of Swedish Artists, Svedlund was one of the few who impressed the leadership of the Swedish Artists Society (Konstnärsförbundet, which included on it's committee of artists Eugéne Jansson, Nils Kreuger, Karl Nordström, Richard Bergh, Christian Ericsson and Robert Thegerström). This applied particularly to his paintings from Bruges which he showed at the Association’s spring salon in 1899. His work were exhibited at the Venice Biennale (1901) and in Munich (1905) where he won a gold medal, in Rome (1911), Malmö (The Baltic Exhibition of 1914) and Copenhagen (1916). His works are represented in the Nationalmuseum of Sweden, Gothenburg Art Museum and the Thielska Gallery.