Gatherings around art

Art on Åland did not change much during the first half of the 20th century. International art movements such as Die neue Sachlichkeit or Surrealism had little influence on Åland. Realistic Naturalism continued to be considered the ideal and was represented by artists such as Thure Malmberg (1894-1968), Erik Juselius (1891-1948), Algot Nordlund (1904-93), Erik Arthur Henriksson (1891-1948) and Anton Bengtsson (1896-1980).

Following the Second World War, art life on Åland experienced a boom when the Åland Art Association was founded in 1953. The initiator behind this was Nils Byman (1906-96) who also played a major part in the foundation of the Åland Art Museum in 1963.

The Art Association arranged courses and art camps which were to have a great impact on the development of art on the Åland islands. Although nature continued to be the most common motif, execution was strongly influenced by Cubism, Expressionism and Concretism. Apart from Nils Byman, this generation of artists includes Ture Bengtz (1907-73), Hildur Stenbäck (1912-98) and Bo Högnäs (1919-91) − all of whom had their very own style of expression.

One artist who went his own way early on was Henrik Nylund (1945-1982). In addition to monumental paintings, Nylund created delicate images of nature in the archipelago using several different techniques. Furthermore, he was a visionary regarding the development of cultural life on Åland.