Gunnar Widforss is one of the best known Swedish painters – in the U.S. – and one of the least known – in Sweden. There is a Widforss Point at the Grand Canyon, and his paintings sell for triple digit prices at American art auctions. Contemporary Swedish art encyclopedias do not even mention his name.
Born in Stockholm in 1879, he left Europe at the age of 42. Originally heading for Japan, but coming no farther than California, he became the great painter of the National parks and his fame is largely attributable to the establishment of the huge American national parks in the early twentieth century, and the birth of the domestic tourist industry.
When Swedish author, entomologist, literature critic, and essayist Fredrik Sjöberg discovered and became fascinated by the watercolors of Gunnar Widforss, he decided to write a fictionalized account of his life and went on a road trip in Widforss‘ footsteps. In The Art of Flight (Flyktkonsten) their journeys become intertwined, and like Sjöberg’s previous book, Fly Trap (Flugfällan) this text, too, takes unexpected turns.
The author: Fredrik Sjöberg was born in Västervik in 1958. He works as critic, author, translator and a columnist for Svenska Dagbladet and lives with his family on an island outside Stockholm. He published The Art of Running Away, How The Burnt-Out Executioner Found Happiness and What shall will do the nature.
Nya Doxa Förlag 2006