Lennart Rodhe, Stadens Tecken (Signs of the City)

Lennart Rodhe
Stadens Tecken (Signs of the City)

Lennart Rodhe (Swedish, 1916–2005) was one of the leading Swedish artists who came to prominence after the Second World War. He was educated at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in 1938-1944. In April 1947, Lennart Rodhe participated in the exhibition Ung konst (Young Art) at gallery Färg & Form in Stockholm. The critics identified a new idiom among this generation of Swedish artists. Despite the fact that many of the artists objected to being labelled together, they became known as “The Men of 1947”. This generation of artists were also called “concretists”, albeit grudgingly. What they had in common was an attempt to move away from earlier generations’ naturalistic depictions of man and nature, claiming that concrete colours and shapes were a reality per se. These artists were driven by a desire to get art out into society and to participate in the creation of humane environments for people to live and work in. Under the slogan “Art to the People!” they contributed many of our finest public decorations during the post-war building boom.

Stadens tecken (glazed stoneware, 1970, acquired 1970) is a variation of his public artwork Dag och natt (Day and Night)(1967) in the lobby of the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter in Marieberg, Stockholm. The artist was inspired by graffiti and the bright colours of the urban space for this work.