The art of Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, 1884–1965


Tjur och Matador III (Bull and Matador III) (1926).

My thanks again to Will at 50 Watts for generously sending me this selection of paintings by Swedish artist Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, or GAN as he was known. These pictures alone show him to have been a very versatile artist, ranging from the late Symbolism of his Young man with death to the works below which deploy a variety of Modernist styles including nods to Cubism and Futurism. A translation of his Swedish Wikipedia page explains the preponderance of matelots and toreadors thus:

The GAN was homosexual reflected in several of his works. For example, he was at times almost manic fixed at the Mariners, and he worshiped the masculine force. Other favorite subjects were male athletes. Meanwhile, the homosexual eroticism both forbidden and taboo and GAN forced to live a double life.

It’s a shame there isn’t a good single site for his work but Google’s image search turns up a lot more paintings. There’s also this Swedish site which contains more biographical detail.


Ynglingen och döden (Young man with death) (1908).




Ilja (Portrait of Karl Edvard Holmström) (1911–12).


Inspiration (1928).

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