Part of the Scandinavian Surrealist movement, and a co-founder of the Swedish Halmstad Group, Erik Olson gained international recognition early in his career, being one of Fernand Léger's favourite students in Paris in the mid-1920s. Initially influenced by Purism and Neo-Plasticism, the concrete nature of this art nonetheless soon proved too restrictive for him. Together with the Halmstad Group, the name taken from the city in Southern Sweden where its members grew up, he developed a Nordic form of Surrealism that was deeply rooted in the landscapes of Halland. Instigated in 1929, they continued to work closely together until the 1980s and for many years they represented Sweden's only gateway to this otherwise internationally widespread movement. Olson was the groups' most prolific figure and widely exhibited his works in a number of European countries.
Prismatisk Landskap (Prismatic Landscape) reflects Olson's interest in artists such as Paul Klee and Juan Miró while at the same time confirming his own unique artistic position. The geometrical form language and the colour scheme accord with his fellow modernists, but such similarities are offset by Olson's intricate use of texture, which creates an at once simple and complex pattern of brushstrokes. The thickness of the paint means that the picture subtly changes appearance in varying light conditions, which lends it an unusual, physical presence. The year 1930 represented the year in which Olson took a deliberate step towards Surrealism, making this work one of the last abstract geometrical ones that he painted.