Bror Hjorth – Ole på balkongen, utsikt över Skånegatan (“Ole on the Balcony, View of Skånegatan”)
After living in Paris during the 1920s, Bror Hjorth moved back to Sweden in the early 30s. After brief stays at a few different addresses on Södermalm in Stockholm, the little family, which consisted of Bror, his wife Tove, and their son Ole, moved into a large flat on Skånegatan.
It was 1932, and earlier that same year, Bror had participated in the founding of the Färg and Form gallery. The gallery’s sign, which featured a carving of a painter with a palette with the founding artists’ names etched into it hanging over his stomach, and holding the words Färg och Form (“Colour and Form”) in upstretched arms, was made by Bror Hjorth, and remained in use until the gallery closed.
The painting Ole på balkongen, utsikt över Skånegatan(“Ole on the Balcony, View of Skånegatan”) is perhaps the only painting by Bror Hjorth to feature such an obviously urban subject. Ole, on the other hand, would come to be one of the people Bror Hjorth depicted the most frequently, in everything from sketches and paintings to sculptures and reliefs. This is a lovely example of Bror Hjorth’s early production, where bright colours succeed one another in clearly delimited fields, a technique that he would use consistently in his painting. Ole’s red mittens, which serve the focal point for the whole picture in the lower right, are echoed by the red gables along the street, and the blue of his scarf reappear in the posts in the railing, the roofs, and the window frames across the street. It’s also nice to see that modern technology made an appearance in the form of a green car, and that even the little dog to the left is given an important role in the painting.