The Artist

Gudmar Olovson

Gudmar Olovson (1936-2017) was born in Boden, Sweden. He grew up in Stockholm where he received his training at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. After spending time in Florence and Rome, Gudmar arrived in Paris in 1959 where he was granted a studio at Cité Universitaire. A year later Swedish sculptor Gunnar Nilsson helped Gudmar aquire a studio at rue François Guibert in Montparnasse. There Gudmar became acquainted with Jean Carton, who would become his master. Paul Cornet and Jean Osouf also had a great influence on the young artist´s development and work. Gudmar also shared a passion for French gothic art and early Renaissance painting and sculpture with a younger generation of artists including Charles Auffret and René Babin.

Gudmar made himself a name as a figurative sculptor, preferring lost wax bronze (“cire perdue”) as his medium, and also created an extensive collection of drawings, litographs, etchings and aquatints.

A celebration of love and the beauty of higher human emotions, his work is found in numerous private collections around the world, and is displayed in public and corporate areas as well as in well-known galleries and museums.

Like all figurative sculptors, Gudmar Olovson’s work could not have been possible without the craftmanship and rare dedication of highly qualified artisans who worked with him “behind the scenes”.

Gudmar worked to maintain ageless traditions of techniques which sculptors have worked in symbiosis with for millenia, including the dexterity and expertise of bronze founders, agrandisseurs / enlargers, moulders, ciseleurs / metal carvers and patina experts.

Today, foundries such as Fonderie de Coubertin (France), Bergman’s Konstgjuteri or Pettersson Konstgjuteri (Sweden) and many others with whom he worked continue these traditions.

The Artist

Gudmar Olovson was exhibited at all the big “Salons” in Paris ever since the early sixties, the latest being a complete one-man retrospective at La Monnaie de Paris (The French Mint) in 2007.

In 2008, a museum honoring Gudmar’s work was inaugurated in Falsterbo, Sweden (Falsterbonäsets Open Air Museum in Höllviken) featuring the five monumental bronzes “The Two Trees”, “Prelude to Life”, “Two Sisters”, “Concorde”, “Wounded Woman-Bird”. Swedish businessman Bo Hjelt, old and close friend of Gudmar, sponsored the park through his art foundation.

Gudmar Olovson´s probably most famous and well-known work of art, “The Two Trees”, is prominently featured in monumental size in Falsterbo, in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, in the gardens of Château Pétrus and adorning the HQ of Ferring Pharmaceuticals in Copenhagen, while “Two Sisters” stands in front of the same company´s factory in New Jersey. Also in monumental size, “Prelude to Life” embellishes the halls of Medicover’s hospitals in Warsaw and Bucharest. “The Dove”, symbol of peace, stands proudly as a gigantic landmark for sailors on a private island in Bohuslän, western Sweden, the island which Swedish iconic actress Ingrid Bergman, another friend of the artist, loved above all other places.

On the French Riviera, “J’aime Les Nuages” (height 210 cm) and “La Concorde” (height 155 cm) proudly stand on the sea front in downtown Cagnes-sur-Mer since 2015.

His many well-known sculpted portraits include those of Carl XVI Gustaf King of Sweden, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Pope John Paul II, Charles de Gaulle and of Georges Pompidou. Ingrid Bergman, Jacob Wallenberg, Peter Wallenberg and Philippe de Rothschild are among many other portraited grandees, many of whom remained life-long friends.

Gudmar Olovson received a number of international awards for his art. He was married to Birgitta (1964-1982). They had two children. Magnus born in 1965 and Susanne in 1970.

Gudmar Olovson passed away in southern France April 2017


Selected Awards
1963   Prix de la Grèce de l’Art libre, Paris
1964   Médaille de bronze, Salon des Artistes français, Grand Palais, Paris
1965   Prix sculpture de l’Art libre, Paris
1966   Grand Prix de sculpture de l’Ile de Bendor – Paul Ricard
1967   Grand Prix de sculpture de l’Ile de Bendor – Paul Ricard
1970   Médaille d’or, Salon des Artistes Français, Grand Palais, Paris
1971   Grand Prix de sculpture, Académie des beaux-arts de Paris
1976   Prix d’Angers
1976   Prix de sculpture au Salon de Baugé, Château de Baugé, Maine-et-Loire
1999   Grand Prix de la Fondation Taylor, Paris
2011   Chevalier des Art et des Lettres, Ministère d´Affaire Étrangères.

Selected One-Man Exhibitions
1969   Cercle suédois, Paris
1976   Kennedy gallery, New York
1977   SDS-hallen, Malmö
1980   Galerie Rocco, Turzi, Paris
1987   Galleri Lejonet, Stockholm
1988   Svenska mässan, Göteborg
1993   Galerie Rocco, Turzi, Paris
1994   Galerie Annick Driguez, Paris
1995   UNESCO 50 ans, Paris
1996   Club des poètes, Paris
1999   Fondation Taylor, Paris
2000   Falsterbo Konsthall, Falsterbo
2002   Siège d’AXA, Paris
2008   La Monnaie de Paris, Paris
2009   Cercle Munster, Luxemburg
2015   Sällskapet, Stockholm
2016   Royal Bachelors Club, Gothenburg

On May 11, 2011 at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister of State Laurent Wauquiez decorated Gudmar as Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, for his “Significant contribution to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.”

Selected Exhibitions
1961   Vårsalongen, Cercle Suédois, Paris
1962   Salon de l´Art Libre, Palais des beaux-arts de la ville de Paris
1962   Vårsalongen Liljevalchs, Stockholm
1963   Salon de Indépendants, Grand Palais, Paris
1963   Vårsalongen Liljevalchs, Stockholm
1964   Art Suédois Contemporain, Musée Galliera, Paris
1964   Formes Humaines, Musée Rodin, Paris,
1964   Salon Terres Latines, Musée d´art moderne de la ville de Paris
1964   Salon de l´Art libre, Paris
1964   Salon des Artistes Français, Grand Palais, Paris
1965   Art Suédois Contemporain, Musée Galliera, Paris
1965   Le groupe des neuf, Galerie Vendôme, Paris
1965   Salon Contemporain, Musée d´art moderne de la ville de Paris
1965   Salin d´Automne, Grand Palais, Paris
1965   Salon des Artistes Français, Grand Palais, Paris
1965   Salon Terres Latines, Musée d´art moderne de la ville de Paris
1966   Salon Comparaisons, Paris
1966   Dessins de sculpteurs de Rodin à nos jours, Strasbourg
1966   Fondations Paul-Ricard au Salon de Vittel
1966   Indépendance et traditions de l`art Français, Madrid
1966   La Maison de la culture de Bourges
1966   Nutida svensk skulptur, Liljevalchs, Stockholm
1966   Oeuvres de papier, Institut Tessin, Paris
1967   Theatre Montparnasse, Paris
1970   The Parisskulptörer Färg och Form, Stockholm
1970   Grands Sculpteurs contemporains, Palais des Archevêques, Narbonnes
1970   Salon des Artistes Français, Paris
1971   Beauté de L´Europe, Musée Galliera, Paris
1971   Beauté de L´Europe, Musée des Pochettes, Nice
1972   Concours Paul-Louis Weiller, Institut de France, Paris
1972   Salon des Artistes Français, Grand Palais, Paris
1974   Concours Paul-Louis Weiller, Institut de France, Paris
1974   Formes humaines, Musée Rodin, Paris
1976   Salon de Baugé, Chateau de Baugé, Maine-et-Loire
1990   Sculpture Francaise, Versailles
1999   Fondation Taylor, Paris
2004   Le Portrait sculpté, Galerie Malaquais, Paris
2005   Dessins de sculpteurs, Galerie Malaquais, Paris
2015   Musée Grimaldi, Haut de Cagnes, Provence