Borglind, Stig (1892-1965)

Borglind, Stig (1892-1965)

Stig Borglind built for himself a respected reputation as a graphic artist both internationally and in his homeland of Sweden. Working in the early 20th century, Borglind was instrumental in promoting the popularity of graphic art.

His style was sophisticated, drawing on the classical precedent of the Dutch masters such as Jan van de Velde (1593-1641). He creates shadows with the carefully placed pressure of his tools, building up depth with increasingly deep lines of black ink. Studies of nature were often a favourite of his, and the intricate attention to detail which Borglind possessed is evident in the picking of individual leaves and the seeds upon the heads of grass which bend gracefully in the wind. Architecture, too, was another popular motif, and in more rigid, solid structures Borglind demonstrates just as much skill in capturing detail.

These bold, dramatic line drawings were reached by a patient and painstaking process of engraving the design upon a metal plate to be transferred onto paper with ink. It involved a huge amount of forethought and contemplation. Borglind was skilled in understanding that an absence of ink was just as effective in conveying the mood and atmosphere of a drawing as carefully placed lines. The stark walls of limestone buildings shine with a crystalline intensity, emphasising, too, the careful delineation of shadows. Borglind’s work has an aura of the mystical and romantic to it, as well as being technically and compositionally correct. This compelling mix captured the attention of many.

Borglind’s interest in graphic art blossomed from a very young age. As a child, he attended graphic art classes and began to nurture the natural talent he possessed. In early adulthood he continued his studies, learning under Gabriel Burmeister (1886-1946), one of Sweden’s foremost graphic artists, at his etching school. His tutoring continued even further, to the prestigious Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Here he was taught by graphic artist greats such as Alfred Bergström (1869-1930) and Axel Tallberg (1860-1928). Tallberg in particular is of note, as he had established a School of Etching at the Academy in 1909 and was one of the leading propagators of this artistic medium.

Evidently, Borglind found much encouragement to pursue his passion. It took many years, however, for his reputation to grow to an international level. It was in 1934 when he accompanied Swedish archaeologist Professor Axel W. Persson (1888-1951) on an expedition to Greece that he finally achieved great acclaim. Working as the official artist, the trip received lots of interest and coverage in the media. Borglind’s charismatic etchings were the embodiment of the spirit and the passion that was at the heart of the trip. Borglind reached the dizzying heights of popularity.

Borglind used this popularity to ensure that the graphic arts continued to be celebrated and encouraged in his homeland. Most significantly, he formed a group with four other graphic artists called the Falun Graphic Printmakers. When not travelling, as he was keen to do, Borglind settled in the Swedish city of Falun. Here he befriended a group of other graphic artists which included the likes of Bertil Bull Hedlund (1893-1950) and Hans Norsbo (1897-1955). Whilst their styles were multitudinous and unique, the group shared their passion for graphic art and instituted the Falun Graphic Printmakers in order to exhibit and promote their work. The group gained national renown, coming to symbolise graphic art in Sweden in the early 20th century.

Borglind was instrumental in promoting Swedish graphic art. He won numerous awards across Europe and continued to exhibit well into his later years. A number of his works are now held in museums across Sweden, including the National Museum in Stockholm.

1892

Born in Piteå, Sweden.

1904

Moved to Falun.

1913-1914

Studied summer courses in graphics under Gabriel Burmeister.

1916

Studied at Althin's Painting School.

1917-1919

Studied at the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

1919

Travelled to England, France, Spain, and North Africa.

1928

Travelled to France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Holland. Established the Association of Etchers.

1934

Accompanied Professor Axel W. Persson as official artist for the archaeological trip to Asine, Greece.

1941

Awarded prize for Most Outstanding Foreign Graphic Artist by Count Volpi in Venice.

1942

Awarded title of Best Foreign Graphic Artist at the Venice Biennale.

1955

Exhibited with the Falugraphics.

1960

Became a member of the Art Academy.

1965

Died in Svärdsjö.

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