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Who is Birger Carlstedt?

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By Gwylym Owen

John Birger Jarl Carlstedt (12 July 1907 in Helsinki – 3 October 1975 in Helsinki) was a Finnish painter and a entrepreneur of Modern Art in Finland. His painting style went through various changes, with influences from Impressionism, Expressionism, Futurism and abstract art.

Birger Carlstedt was born in Helsinki to businessman John Wilhelm Carlstedt and restaurateur Amanda Josefina Lindström. Carlstedt had an older sibling who died as a child and a younger brother, Knut Wilhelm. The two brothers are said to have been close. Knut was born in 1910 and died in the Winter war.

The associates was a part of the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland, but French and German were afterward spoken in the household. Birger Carlstedt also intellectual Finnish in school. The intimates was affluent, and Birger grew stirring in a household later valets. After John passed in 1913, Amanda continued to acquire and control restaurants in Helsinki until 1938.

Birger Carlstedt studied at the School of the Fine Arts Association of Finland and the Central School of Applied Arts in Helsinki. He plus studied in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s. With the preserve of rich parents, Carlstedt was able to travel all but Europe and visit the Bauhaus and De Stijl groups to psychiatry their visual arts and architecture. Amanda Carlstedt was her son’s paton for much of his life.

As a student, Carlstedt already belonged to the relatively little group of artists who were constantly log on to further influences and experimented with further forms of expression. He was influenced by Cubism and Surrealism and his style became increasingly Non-figurative.

While full of zip as a painter after his studies, he in addition to had his own interior design company. His most notable interior design was the Le Chat Doré cafe in Helsinki (1929), which was Parisian in style, with references to Art Deco. The café was accustom Carlstedt’s mother Amanda.

Carlstedt drew inspiration from the café L’ Aubette in Strasbourg, which was styled by Theo van Doesburg, Jean (Hans) Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp in 1926–1928. At that get older this type of interior design was not understood or appreciated in Finland, so taking into consideration the lease of the café was in the works in 1933, the interior was destroyed.

Birger Carlstedt’s first major exhibition was in the Kunsthalle Helsinki in 1932. The exhibition was next subject to uncompromising criticism, because international abstract art was not appreciated.

Carlstedt was married three times: first to Ingegärd Jacquette af Forselles in 1932; then to Inga Hjördis Beatrice Roos in 1941 and finally to the pianist France Ellegaard in 1949.

In 2019-20 a major retrospective exhibition of Carlstedt’s works was held in the Amos Rex Museum in Helsinki. As allowance of the exhibition, the museum reconstructed part of the interior of the Le Chat Doré cafe of 1929.

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