Schyl, Jules (1893-1977)

Schyl, Jules (1893-1977)
Schyl, Jules (1893-1977)

The bold lines and even bolder colour palette of Jules Schyl are the distinctive marks of an artist excited by new developments in artistic expression during the early 20th century. Splitting his time and efforts between Sweden and Denmark, Schyl spread the new wave of modernist art to the Scandinavian countries.

As a young, flourishing artist, Schyl was educated in the Swedish predilection for naturalism. Such a style had flourished across Europe in the 19th century, and was, for Sweden, its greatest artistic export. Therefore, it is not surprising that as a young artist Schyl was tutored in culturing an artistic intelligence for capturing nature and everyday life in a vivid and emotive manner.

However, it was his travels following his studies to Denmark and the artistic hub of Copenhagen that saw Schyl take these learned skills and translate them into an entirely new style of art. The modernist styles such as cubism, expressionism, and fauvism were calling to Schyl. From these, he drew much inspiration.

His works feature dynamic compositions executed in luminous colours. Nude women are chiselled from sharp shapes, shadows composed, inversely, of pastels, eyes a smudge of black yet expressive in the application of the paint. Schyl drew inspiration from the bohemian world that surrounded him in the early 20th century, capturing musicians wielding their instruments, dancers poised for the stage. His technicolour palette expresses well the electric energy of his subjects and the world in which they partied.

Schyl also found inspiration from his teachers in his early years. Joakim Skovgaard (1856-1933) taught Schyl at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Skovgaard’s predilection for religious frescoes seeped into Schyl’s own interest, and he executed a number of wall paintings during his career. He was also able to transfigure religious subjects into his own style, although he discarded the sacred, for the most part, for the passionate thrills of the bohemian underworld.

Whilst he spent most of his life bouncing between Sweden and Denmark, Schyl also undertook some travels further afield. The inspiration he garnered from these trips is reflected in his landscape paintings. The undulating hills of the Italian countryside, flowing around the roman ruins, are disciplined into smart shapes which define the various aspects of the piece. The sandy starkness of the ancient stone is discarded in favour of blazing red hues, the countryside beyond swamped in verdant greens. Schyl encapsulates the life of the land in his landscapes, even the long-dead ruins are brought alive.

As well as exploring these new developments in art in his own works, Schyl was also keen to disseminate this knowledge and foster creativity in others. He worked for a while as a teacher before setting up his own private art school in Lund, Sweden. He was also a founding member of the Swedish art group known as ‘The Twelve,’ who were keen to disseminate and celebrate modernist art. Throughout his life he also exhibited regularly with various Swedish art associations.

Schyl was an artist whose passions spanned various styles and subjects. He found no limits, his experimentations were revolutionary, sweeping Sweden and Denmark into the modernist art world.


Born in Copenhagen.


Studied at the Stockholm Technical School.


Trained as a drawing teacher at the Higher School of Art and Design. Studied at Althin’s Painting School.


Studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.


Worked as a drawing teacher in Malmö. Travelled to Italy.


Travelled to Dresden, Germany.


Founded the Swedish art group ‘The Twelve.’ Travelled to Spain.


Founded the Aura Art Association.


Married Karin Johansson.


Died in Malmö.

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