Hans Norsbo (Johansson) (1897-1955)
Born in Falun, Sweden where he studied at Theodor Glasells’ painting school in Falun before moving on to the Academy of Art in 1915. He was originally surnamed Johanson but took the name Norsbro after the village in which he bought a cottage in 1923. After graduation, marriage and a painting trip to Paris, Norsbro and his wife moved to Settignano a small village outside Florence. Here an artists’ colony developed and Swedish and Danish painters exchanged ideas based on their mutual admiration for the quattrocento painters. Norsbro’s painting in the Swedish Academy’s 1921 Autumn Salon was widely considered the best in show and was purchased by Prince Eugen for Waldemarsudde. The Norsbro’s spent much of the 1920s in Rome where they met the art historian Gerda Boethius. Boethius arranged portrait commissions, mounted exhibitions of Norsbro’s work and introduced him to Anders Zorn’s widow, Emma. Norsbro was regularly in financial difficulties but with Boethius’ and Emma Zorn’s help and introductions he was able to return to Sweden with the expectation of a full time job in art education. He began to concentrate on graphic art and developed a reputation for skill in dry point etching. A solo show of his graphics in Stockholm held in 1941 sealed his fame, Crown Prince Gustav Adolf was amongst the buyers and in 1951 he commissioned an etched portrait from Norsbro. A memorial exhibition for Norsbro and Alfred Hedlund was organized in Dalarna Museum in 1957.
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