Bo Alström i ”Svenska Konstnärer 2008”



Målare, född i Kalmar 1937. Autodidakt. Teoretiska studier i Konstvetenskap vid Uppsala universitet.


Debuterade som naivist i Stockholm på 1960-talet, men har under 1970- och 80-talen arbetat i ett expressionistiskt uttryckssätt där färgen gjorts till ett mera känslomässigt bärande element. Dock alltid med figurativa eller andra klart avbildande inslag.


Människan i olika tider och epoker är ett återkommande innehåll. Har haft separatutställning i Stockholm och olika delar av landet, samt i Antibes  Frankrike, Bienalen i Menton samt i Luxenburg.



 Arbetade vid mitten av 1990-talet fram utställningen Slaget - en väg till fred, i samarbete med Sigtuna museum. En svit bataljmålningar i stort format som skildrade slag av avgörande betydelse från Antiken till och med andra världskriget. Den kom att visas, förutom på skilda platser i Sverige och på  Åland, i Moskva och andra Ryska städer.


Har deltagit i samlingsutställningar i såväl Sverige som utomlands. Utfört väggdekorationer åt HSB samt i skolor och i Sigtunastiftelsens Stora sal.

Representerad på olika museer, kommuner och landsting runt om i landet.









Bo Alström is a history painter, a uniquely modern representative of an age-old tradition. At the same time, he is a philosophical and profoundly intuitive modern artist. He empathizes with the experiences of people in distant times and places while maintaining a highly-calibrated sensitivity to color, form, and composition. Alström’s curiosity about human character and motivation, about past events, and about the world in which he lives finds expression in exhilerating images where abstraction and representation and description and imagination collide, interact, and harmonize.  


In this sense, Alström is a revolutionary history painter. The original intention of history painting was to clearly depict a particular event in order to convey an unambiguous message about the event’s meaning and significance. Kings glorified their military and political power; churches commissioned biblical illustrations for a semi-literate public. Even nineteenth-century artists who considered themselves rebels from art academies dedicated themselves to historically accurate paintings - of modern life.   In contrast, Alström avoids exactitude. His postmodernist way of thinking has led him to the belief that every event, every situation has many interrelated and often competing narratives, and reflecting on these possibilities is something he wants to encourage in the viewer.



Alström combines master draftsmanship with coloristic expression. Like pioneer expressionist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), color and form have clearly defined, independent roles. Forms are delineated in black paint – sometimes whole, sometimes partial, but always undercutting viewer expectations of completion. They are purposely open-ended. Whole forms lack the naturalistic coloration we expect, and partial forms suggest a frozen moment in the creative process, a document of a stage in the scenario’s development. And indeed it is, but only for the viewer. For Alström, the image is complete. Through the device of seemingly unfinished drawing Alström suggests the ongoing process of events and their historical interpretation and compels the viewer to participate by imagining wholeness and the subsequent unfolding of the drama he has presented.

Color – often with emphasis on the primaries: red, yellow, blue – contributes an emotional dimension, both through the temperature of the color and through its gestural application. Alström uses the traditional medium of oil paint, which takes a long time to dry and which can be applied thinly (allowing underlying textures to show through) or thickly (with a material presence rivaling that of the canvas). Color functions sometimes as a veil which obscures, a veil that evokes the haziness of memory and dreams. We seem to be gazing back into the past, into our own imaginations, into the mind of the artist. At other times, color animates the scene by its apparent superfluousness, a kind of forte, a flamboyant visual yell that complicates the images both visually and cognitively. It draws attention to the physical act of creating the painting and to the intuitive process guiding the artist.


With their elegaic moods, dynamic symphonies of color, and references to the past, Alström’s paintings invite the viewer to reflect on what has been and what is to come. Just as the burst of pigment in Alström’s paintings consititute the raw material of things as yet unformed, so the world we live in is filled with embryonic possibilities. Alström’s paintings are powerful and poignant reminders of the capacity of the individual imagination and will to create the world in which (s)he lives and a humbling reminder that our actions can have unintended consequences.


Dr. Michelle Facos

Associate Professor

History of Art

Indiana University, Bloomington