Applied art – livelihood and passion: Saga Walli och Gunnel Kjellgren-Schultze
Applied art meets the need of the consumer. It is aesthetic, designed and creates objects and ideas that are practical and useful. (Wiki) Could this also define an artist working as painter? My answer is of course, yes. The two artists my research investigates had their creative passion and they succeeded in building livelihood for themselves and their families.
In this study, I have discussed the two women’s possibilities of relevant education, working options, artistic context and social activities.
Saga Walli was born in Prag 1891 living her first 10 years in different European cities, where her father had contracts as opera singer. However, situation changed, father died after years of major depression and economically hard years hit mother Sigrid Elmblad and Saga and her sister Inga then living in Stockholm. Saga started to study art as a child in Wiesbaden and illustrated her mother’s literary texts, painted Christmas cards and studied at Carl Wilhelmson’s art school as non-paying pupil to reach master hood in painting. But she married instead of studying in Paris and as mother and wife in Gothenburg from the 1930ties she painted altarpieces, portraits, landscapes and illustrated books. Saga Walli died in 1975.
Gunnel Kjellgren-Schultze was born in Gothenburg 1926 in a family of entrepreneurs. After finishing “Slöjdföreningens skola” she promptly started her career in the early 1950-ties as designer of textile. After marriage, childbirth and divorce she took up her work in her own company. Sweden then was then a producer of designed textile although in the years around 1970 the textile crisis hit this branch of industry. Gunnel then instead designed textile art works, sort of tapestries, for public spaces and had one big exposition in the Röhsska museum in 1975. Gunnel met with Saga when she was 17 years old when studying art techniques in Sagas private painting school. Gunnel is still active and she has been one of my main sources in combination with the Walli archive at the National Archive in Gothenburg and the digitalized press archive at the Royal Library.