Artist biography

Eric H. Olson born 1909

Swedish pioneer of optical compositions and painter, born in Malmö. First showed his work in Stockholm in 1946 in a one-man exhibition of Expressionist paintings at the Galleri Rålambshov. Started experimenting with geometric-abstract forms in 1947. Contacted Herbin in 1950 and, through him, exhibited at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, 1950-4. In 1951 made paintings exploring oscillation effects. Executed murals and mosaics for public buildings 1952-3 with compositions based on bilateral symmetry; also made works using artificial light as an active element, sometimes in combination with coloured perspex. Ceased painting in 1954 and began to explore optical colour phenomena and the refraction of light in molecular structures. First exhibited glass-plate compositions with polarisation effects in a group exhibition in Oslo 1958. His work has since been included in various exhibitions of optical and kinetic art, including Rörelse i Konsten at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1961, and The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1965. Lives in Stockholm.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.573