Erwö, Allan (1921-2007)

Erwö, Allan (1921-2007)
Erwö, Allan (1921-2007)

Swedish artist Allan Erwö painted with energy and modernism, a spirit reflected in his efforts to encourage the development of art in Sweden.

Erwö benefitted greatly from the smaller institutions and art clubs which had been set up in Sweden from the late 19th century onwards to encourage the furtherance of artistic practice. An artistic career had, before this time, predominantly been dictated by whether or not a budding artist could be accepted into the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts. However, with the decentralisation of art, an artistic career became much more possible.

Erwö was received into his first exhibition at the budding age of 21 by the Scania Art Association, set up to promote everyday individuals pursuing art. This then allowed him to go on to study at the Royal Academy, ensuring that he received, in a way, the best of both worlds in terms of artistic nourishment.

The results of such teachings, coupled with Erwö’s own artistic spirit, are evident in his works. Erwö painted predominantly landscapes, although he also executed a number of still life studies and city scenes of his hometown of Malmö. An abstract style boldly strikes the viewer. Erwö conjures from but a few lines and carefully chosen colours the essence of his subject. A starkly structured mountain view is executed in bold, baked colours of yellow and black. A watery, winding coastal view of Torekov, where Erwö kept a summer home and studio, captures the energy of the rolling tide and the simmering sand dunes, whilst gathering clouds are invoked by the skating twist of a grey-tinted brush across blue canvas.

Erwö remained loyal to his hometown of Malmö throughout his life, living and working there. He also became a prominent figure in ensuring the continued encouragement of local artists. As well as becoming a member of the Scania Art Association, which had catalysed his career, Erwö also chaired The Artists’ Collective Workshop foundation. This was established to oversee the building of a number of artist studios in Malmö that could be rented and used by many who perhaps could not afford their own private space. The scheme is still ongoing to this day.

Erwö’s legacy is mirrored in both his art and his efforts to ensure the development of other artists. He approached his own work with a modernism evocative of his spirit and injected into Malmö this same energy to ensure the cultivation of other artists’ talents.

His works are now held in a number of museums, including the Helsingborg Museums.


Born in Malmö.


Debut exhibit at the Skåne Art Association's autumn exhibition.


Married Ella Henrietta Thulin.


Studied at the Skåne School of Painting.


Solo exhibition of work held at the Aura Artists’ Association, Lund.


Studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.


Awarded the Ellen Trotzig scholarship.


Became the chairman of the Malmö Artists' Collective Workshop foundation.


Died in Malmö. Buried in Limhamn cemetery.

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