• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7656

    Nordic Art

    15 May 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 92

    Sven Jonson (Swedish, 1902-1981)

    Kors mot Blatt - Plankomposition 8 (Cross against blue - Composition 8)

    Price Realised  


    Sven Jonson (Swedish, 1902-1981)
    Kors mot Blatt - Plankomposition 8 (Cross against blue - Composition 8)
    signed and dated 'S. Jonson. 30.' (lower right) and further signed and inscribed 'Kors Mot Blatt/Sven Jonson/Plankomposition 8' (on the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    19¾ x 19¾ (50 x 50 cm.)
    Painted in 1930

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    A member of the famous Swedish artist group Halmstadgruppen, Sven Jonson was one of his country's first direct links to the international movements of Cubism and Surrealism. Embodying his own distinct combination of these, he was not merely interested in copying the French avant-garde masters, but sought to incorporate the particularity of his native region into his works. Above all, Jonson sought to incorporate the 'salty light' of his Nordic town, frequently expressed with a slightly blue-green colour. This is exemplified in Kors mot Blatt, where the blue hues are matched by earthy brown colours to convey an almost naturalistic impression despite the pure geometrical shapes depicted. Blue was Jonson's preferred colour, but also the colour he found the most difficult of all to work with. There is a hypnotic quality to the work whereby what at first glance appears to be an entirely abstract composition slowly begins to give way to particular content. Such illusory readings are supported by what appears to be a play of reflections on the pictorial surface, with the white squares at the top left and towards the bottom right giving the impression of viewing the work through a glass pane. Invoking light and shadow, flatness and depth, Jonson's works are highly atmospheric. Always carefully executed in terms of paint strokes, composition and colour scheme, they are more formally restrained than his peers in Halmstadgruppen, and both his Cubist and Surrealist pieces characteristically display a harmony which was rare for his contemporaries - nationally as well as internationally.

    Special Notice

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    Egon Östlund, Boras.
    Torbjørn Jonson.


    V. Bosson, Halmstadgruppen - Ny helt omarbetad upplaga, 1970, no. 154 (illustrated).


    Stockholm, Liljevachs Konsthall, Halmstadgruppen, 1939, no. 17.
    Stockholm, Konstakadamiet, Halmstadgruppen 1929-1949, 1949, no. 2. Stockholm, Folkrörelsernas Konstfrämjande, 1953, no. 2.
    Lund, Lunds Konsthall, Halmstadgruppen, 1979, no. 1.
    Helsinki, Amos Andersson Art Museum, Föreningen Nutidskonst, 50-arsjubileumsutställning, 6 October - 26 November 1989, no. 4.
    Stockholm, Liljevalchs, Halmstadgruppen 60 ar, 1989, no. 9.
    Stockholm, Riksförbundet för bildende konst, no. 45.