Ingemar Dahlberg was always eager for new inspirations. On our art trips to his favourite city of Berlin, museums like Hamburger Bahnhof were waiting to be explored. He also discovered one of the city’s most important gallery owners after “die Wende”, Inga Kondeyne, who represented artists including Joachim Böttcher and Hanns Schimansky. Their meeting was not a mere coincidence; both Curt Asker and Lotti Ringström were part of her circle. Here simplicity, light and abstraction ruled above all else.
Ingemar liked this approach and felt it could be found in Swedish art after 1945. Rolande Kemp, an early art friend of his when he first started collecting, shared this view and it could be seen in his dense red and black interiors.
Lage Lindell, however, made the greatest impression upon Ingemar. One day the photographer Pelle Stackman phoned me and said “You’ve got to meet a collector who has lots of Lage”. I had, of course, written about Lage and his contemporaries. My first meeting with Ingemar never ended! His Lage Lindell collection became one of the most undoubtedly distinguished collections in Sweden. The majority of the collection was sold when his wife Ulla died but he had carefully selected which works he wanted to keep.
Lage Lindell was always hung in the best position in his apartment.
> Lennart Rodhe, "Karusell", pastel on paper, 42 x 56 cm.
Ingemar was an expert in the post-war generation of artists. We often discussed various works and trends in-depth and when Ingemar made his choices they were always spot on, such as Lennart Rodhe’s “Hönshuset” (The Henhouse).
In 1990 I reconstructed the legendary Konkret (Concrete) exhibition of 1949 at Galerie Blanche. Ingemar took this opportunity to acquire some unbeatable classics from the 40s; Pierre Olofsson’s “Krumelur” (Squiggle) and “Brokig knut” (Colourful knot), Olle Bonniér’s “Fuga” (Fugue). On another occasion, he bought Arne Jones’ “Treklang” (Triad). An impressive quartet in Swedish art history!
Olle Bonniér, "Fuga", kollage av litografier samt gouache 69 x 104 cm <
Clearly, he was interested in this type in art; Lars Englund was another favourite. The Galerie Bleue in Stockholm, owned by Sara Bonniér Holmgren who had previously been married to Olle, was able to display the breadth of the development of constructive art with artists such as Elli Hemberg, Cajsa Holmstrand and Einar Höste.
The latter was commissioned to design Ulla and Ingemar Dahlberg’s gravestone.
But Ingemar was not bound to one style.
He liked Torsten Renqvist; his sculptures were popular, after all, but his finely-tuned paintings of the 1950s were overshadowed. In Dahlberg’s collection, they acted as a personal statement on behalf of art that could be lyrical, enigmatic and, perhaps also, incomplete.
To Ingemar, art often meant friendship.
He had a special relationship with PO Ultvedt, whose “Dömd till skinka” was a permanent feature on every visit to the Dahlbergs’ home on Baggensgatan.
His proximity to Björn Axlund’s gallery on Stortorget was significant; here nothing was imposing and instead the mood was all fragility and reticence. Artists such as Karl Granqvist and Marianne Hall demanded stillness and thought.
At every moment, the art touched Ingemar. Literally. He was especially fond of small sculptures one could pick up and hold in one’s hand. Böttcher, Renqvist and Hall I have already mentioned. With Carl Milles, Martin Holmgren, Liss Eriksson, Asmund Arle, Robert Jacobsen and Erik Dietman, they stood on their shelf to delight the eye and welcome curious fingers.
Torsten Renqvist, "Hästlyftaren", Sculpture, wood and metal screws, height 104 cm. <
The collection includes names that perhaps not everyone will recognise today; amongst them Eva Hallström with her magnificent poetry of colour. It was a different time. But Ingemar sought out artistic quality beyond his time. He was both a collector and a passionate observer.
Thomas Millroth, friend, writer, art historian, critic
The collection will be sold at the Modern Art + Design auction on May 17th – 18th.
Viewing May 12th – 16th, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm.
Auction Live May 17th – 18th, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm.