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Gösta Adrian-Nilsson

(Sweden, 1884-1965)
Gösta adrian-nilsson, "handbollsspelare".
Gösta adrian-nilsson, "handbollsspelare".
Gösta adrian-nilsson, "handbollsspelare".
Gösta adrian-nilsson, "handbollsspelare".
Gösta adrian-nilsson, "handbollsspelare".
Gösta adrian-nilsson, "handbollsspelare".
Gösta adrian-nilsson, "handbollsspelare".
Gösta adrian-nilsson, "handbollsspelare".


Signed GAN. Executed 1926. Duk 81 x 65 cm.

Droit de suite: Yes

1 500 000 - 2 000 000 SEK

148 515 - 198 020 EUR


Silversmith Wiwen Nilsson.
Thence by descent within the family.


Lunds Konsthall, "GAN och Wiwen Nilsson", 3 juli - 28 augusti 1977, cat no 145.
Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, Stockholm, ”GAN – modernistpionjär och outsider”, 19 February – 29 May 2011, cat no 71.
Norrköpings Konstmuseum, ”GAN – modernistpionjär och outsider”, 24 September 2011 – 8 January 2012.

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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 fooball players (…) GAN was particularly drawn to rough sports like football, boxing awnd rugby which for him symbolized the struggle of life. Among his literary favorites 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, icehockey and like in the auctions work – handball. Muscular, welltrained men are depicted in full, explosive action – just before the ball is shot, the punch is hit, the spear is thrown. The sportsmovements emerged and gained great importance at the beginning of the last century in parallel with the urbanization och the 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 the Swedish modernism during the first half of the last century.

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For condition report contact specialist
Lena Rydén
Lena Rydén
Head of art, Specialist Modern Art
+46 (0)707 78 35 71