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New season – New highlights: Gösta Adrian-Nilsson 'Handbollsspelare'


Gösta Adrian-Nilsson Handbollsspelare


GAN’s fascination for sportsmen and athletes started during his time in Berlin 1913-14. In the catalogue for the exhibition at Mjellby art museum in Halmstad 2002 Jan Torsten Ahlstrand wrote:

” After the return to Lund in August 1914, GAN rented a room at Idrottsgatan, near the sports ground, where he could study muscular young men in action. This inspired him to some futurist paintings with athletes, a high jumper, a shot putter and some football players (…) GAN was particularly drawn to rough sports like football, boxing and rugby which for him symbolized the struggle of life. Among his literary favourites was Jack London, whose social Darwinist and Nietzschean-colored novel had made a strong impression on him.”

In conjunction with the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924 and the following years, GAN returned to paint athletes doing different sports: football, boxing, skiing, rugby, ice hockey and like in the auctions work – handball. Muscular, well-trained men are depicted in full, explosive action – just before the ball is shot, the punch is hit, the spear is thrown. The sports movements emerged and gained great importance at the beginning of the last century in parallel with urbanization and modernism. GAN, who constantly was seeking new paths in his art, was one of the first artists to paint athletes from a modern perspective. His fascination for the men is obvious and the paintings are openly and boldly homoerotic in a time when homosexuality was forbidden.
The auction’s work ”Handballplayers” is executed in 1926. The provenance is the silver smith Wiwen Nilsson, who was a good friend of GAN. They both got to know each other in Paris in spring 1924, which was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and artistic collaboration. They both, in their own way, had an important impact on Swedish modernism during the first half of the last century.



To Handbopllspelare by Gösta Adrian-Nilsson

Explore the full catalogue for Modern Art + Design

Signed GAN. Executed 1926. Duk 81 x 65 cm.. To be sold at Modern Art + Design 10 – 11 May. Estimate 1 500 000 – 2 000 000 SEK.



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Andreas Rydén
Stockholm
Andreas Rydén
Head Specialist, Art, Deputy Managing Director
+46 (0)728 58 71 39
Björn Extergren
Stockholm
Björn Extergren
Head of Consignment & Sales Department, Fineart. Specialist Antique Furniture, Decorative Arts and Asian Ceramics
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Lena Rydén
Stockholm
Lena Rydén
Head of art, Specialist Modern Art
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Marcus Kinge
Stockholm
Marcus Kinge
Specialist Prints
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Amanda Wahrgren
Stockholm
Amanda Wahrgren
Specialist Modern Art, Prints
+46 (0)702 53 14 89