Brothers Erik and Axel Olson grew up in a simple sailor family in Halmstad. As early as 1915, they formed the group Gnistan together with their cousin Waldemar Lorentzon. At an exhibition in Halmstad in the early 1920s, they were discovered by art connoisseur Egon Östlund, who introduced them to Gösta Adrian-Nilsson. Shortly afterwards, Axel traveled to Berlin and came in contact with the avant-garde on the continent such as Der Sturm, Italian futurism, Russian constructivism and French Cubism. Erik Olson's meeting with GAN came to strongly influence him and it broadened his horizons towards the European avant-garde art. Erik went to Paris where he became part of Fernand Léger's first group of students at Académie Moderne. Later, during the 1930s, he, together with other members of the Halmstad group, switched to surrealism.