Isaac Grünewald

Grünewald (2 Sept. 1889 – 22 May 1946); Swedish-Jewish expressionist painter born in Stockholm. The leading and central name in the first generation of Swedish modernists from 1910 until his death in 1946, in other words for almost his entire 4-decade career. He was a highly productive painter as well as a writer and public speaker.

Having studied at an influential Swedish art school for 3 years, at 19 Grünewald traveled to Paris where he soon began studies at Henri Matisse's academy. In 1909 he gained recognition in his homeland when he exhibited his work with a group of Scandinavian artists known as The Young Ones.

He met his future wife Sigrid Hjertén in 1909 and encouraged her to study painting with him in Paris. Having married in 1911, Grünewald and Hjertén from 1912 on regularly exhibited together at home and abroad. Art historians nowadays often cite them as being responsible for introducing modernism to Sweden. At a time in history when anti-Semitism was both widespread and politically correct and women artists were frowned upon, their works were often the subject of ridicule in the press. In fact, recent research has shown that Grünewald who became the center of public controversy numerous times was the number one target of anti-Semitism in the Swedish press between 1910 and 1926.

Despite or because of his role as the leading and most controversial pioneer in Swedish modernism in his days, in Swedish journalism and literature, he is still sometimes being portrayed as, in effect, the embodiment of a classic Jewish caricature, with insinuations of his not having earned his success fairly; being an insignificant Matisse imitator as an artist but a genius as a businessman.

...In 1946 he and his second wife Märta Grundell were killed in an airplane crash. Grünewald was the father of 3 sons born in 1910, 1911 and 1940.

...Grünewald is still the single artist whose sales bring the highest yearly income...
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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