Åke Göransson (1902-1942) Sweden

Åke Göransson was a Swedish artist and is considered one of the foremost representatives of the Gothenburg colorists.

Göransson grew up with his mother and four siblings in simple conditions and therefore took a job at a young age to help out with household expenses. He briefly worked as a soap boy in a barber shop before continuing to become an assistant hairdresser. Göransson quickly advanced and after three years completed his apprenticeship as a hairdresser. At the same time he studied art history, primarily focusing on color theory and art theory. He also took classes in freehand drawing and oil painting with Gotthard Sandberg.

Göransson continued to study part-time with Tor Bjurström at the Valand School of Fine Art. Around 1927 he began to show increasing signs of schizophrenia, which forced him to completely abandon his studies in 1928. He was afraid of people, absent-minded and suffered from insomnia. Beginning in 1930, he isolated himself completely at home, a simple one-room flat he shared with his mother and younger brother, where he focused on his painting. The paintings he created during this period would later prove to be the high point of his career. The themes were mainly interiors, still lifes, window views and self-portraits. However, his mental illness took the upper hand and in 1937 he was admitted to a mental hospital in Gothenburg, where he remained until his death in 1942.

Before Göransson’s death many of his works were displayed, drawing great attention and admiration from both the public and critics. Göransson visited one of the exhibitions, but was in such a poor state that he was unaware that he himself was the artist.

Göransson is currently considered to be one of the main representatives of the Gothenburg colorists, with his exceptional ability to use color to convey emotional intimacy. His tragic life story and short life, combined with his unusual paintings, created a myth that fascinates and arouses interest to this day.

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