Astrid Harms-Ringdahl was an artist of Finnish descent who worked primarily in Sweden. She painted predominantly landscapes and seascapes, capturing with an abstract, impressionist eye the feeling of nature and the spirit of the place. Harms-Ringdahl was much praised for this approach, critics noting her work had an ‘authenticity and empathy.’ Indeed, whilst detail is lacking, it is perhaps not necessary in her works. Her brushwork and colour choices do all the talking.
Bold, flat spans of pale beige contrast dramatically with darker tones, invoking the shadow sides of buildings.
She conjures up a scene of a city sprawled out in the background of a spindly, decrepit-looking woodland. Betwixt them, a stark stretch of blue envisions a winding river, bold lines of minty green constructing a bridge.
In countryside scenes, Harms-Ringdahl once again uses scant, selective brushstrokes to build houses, set amidst sloping, slanting fields in various verdant shades. The seasonal nature of these scenes is summoned through these sophisticated, selective choices of colour and brushwork Ringdahl makes.
This modernist touch to her work is reflected in where she exhibited within Sweden. Harms-Ringdahl’s work could often be found at exhibits such as Modern Art in a Home Environment, dedicated to widening the accessibility of art within Sweden, and Liljevach’s Art Gallery. Liljevach’s was established to encourage modern and contemporary art and allow it to reach a wider audience, therefore it is no surprise to find Harms-Ringdahl’s work being displayed there.
Harms-Ringdahl’s success was indicative of the growing ability for women to become professional artists during the 20th century. Whereas they had before been excluded from attending art schools and exhibiting their work, women were now finding more and more doors open to them. Harms-Ringdahl was able to attend the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts to receive a thorough artistic education. She was also exhibiting alongside other women artists such as Lil Silfverling (1909-1979).
So, too, could Harms-Ringdahl travel with much more ease, able to chase where artistic inspiration led her. She received a travel scholarship from the government, and she made the most of the benefits this awarded her. From Norway to Italy, France, Spain, even all the way to Sri Lanka and the USA, Harms-Ringdahl garnered inspiration for her landscapes. She did, however, remain loyal to her homeland. The areas of Kåseberga and Österlen were particular favourites of hers. Here she could truly capture the spirit of nature with her empathetic and sophisticated brush.
Born in Helsinki, Finland.
Studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts.
Solo exhibition of work held at Modern Art in a Home Environment art salon.
Solo exhibition of work held at Konstnärshuset art gallery.
Retrospective exhibition of work held.
Died. Buried in Östra Ryd cemetery.
Memorial exhibition of work held at Color and Shape art gallery.
Memorial exhibition of work held at Galleri Tersaeus.