Vicke Lindstrand – the great Swedish art glass magician

Kontur vase by Swedish glass artist Vicke Lindstrand

Vicke Lindstrand’s full name was Viktor Emanuel Lindstrand. He is famed for his role as a great pioneer in the history of Swedish art glass which he served as a very important and productive glass artist in his country for more than 50 years.

Lindstrand was born in Goteborg in 1904. His father had his own housepainter business, while his mother owned several groceries. Vicke had three brothers: Samuel who became a salesman, Daniel, who became a painter and Rafael who became a dentist. As Rafael, Vicke Lindstrand had a great ear for music.

As a child Vicke Lindstrand took a fancy to drawing. When he was 14 years old he spent a year as a bookbinders apprentice and later went to a school (Sløjdforeningens aftenskole) where he studied commercial art for about a year. In the following time he worked amongst others as a sign painter and newspaper illustrator.

1928 became a year of destiny for Lindstrand who met the famous glass artist Simon Gate at an industry exhibition in Jonkobing. Gate hired Lindstrand to work at the Orrefors glassworks, where he soon established himself as a glass artist of international format.

Already in 1930 Vicke Lindstrand was so well known, that the press began to write about the “Orrefors-trio” consisting of Simon Gate, Edward Hald and Vicke Lindstrand. Lindstrand worked for Orrefors until 1940 and then left the glassworks with the agreement not to work with glass for the next decade.

From 1942 to 1950 Vicke Lindstrand became the leading artist at the pottery factory Upsala-Ekeby and the Karlskrona porcelain factory in Sweden. At that time his great designs of figurines and vases became some of Upsala-Ekeby’s most popular products in the history of the factory.

However, Lindstrand was seeking back to his roots as a glass artist and from 1950-1973 he was affiliated to the Kosta glassworks as the leading artist. In these years he changed the Kosta design style radically. In 1953 the glassworks built a mansion to the artist, the Kosta-house, in which he lived until his death in 1983. The last ten years of his life, Lindstrand worked freelance in his own studio in the Kosta-house.

Even though Vicke Lindstrand first off all is know as a fantastic glass artist, his creative work reaches also others areas of fine arts. He designed fabrics and did some remarkable paintings, e.g., a portrait of the famous Swedish actress Greta Garbo.

Reference: Rohsska Museet in Sweden and www.vickelindstrand.com.