Designer – Olle Hjortzberg


Olle Hjortzberg (1872-1959) started already as a schoolboy in Linköping to paint watercolors, mostly small romantic nature studies, which he sold through a bookstore in the city. His example and to some extent master teacher was his father, who in his youth studied with the renowned landscape painter, Prof. PD Holm. 1886 H moved to Stockholm, where he went to live with a sister, married to architect Emil Melander. Greater importance for his artistic development was given another brother in law, later palace architect Agi Lindengren, who was a prominent illustrator and bokdekoratör. In his office learned H to solve the ornamental details. As an apprentice in Bergh & Lundqvist's paint shop, he also got to do some work in Uppsala Cathedral, where the master painter Edvard Bergh led the decoration sketches by Lind Branch.

Autumn 1892 H student at the Academy. The work where he stands almost have felt as a duty, which does not rule out significant success. Thus he received medals among others for suggestions for decorating the atrium of the College's new house and for her illustrations in Thomas à Kempis.
In April 1898 left the H and his wife Stockholm for a long trip abroad, financed with grant funds. The first went to Paris, where H among others copied in the Louvre, and from there to the northern French coast of Normandy and Brittany. Most, he was addressed by the people of life and the religious ceremonies in the small villages. The main destination was, however, Italy, where he arrived in early November. The greatest experience was the visit to Florence in autumn 1899, where he studied and admired the old frescomålarna Ghirlandaio, Gozzoli and Lippi. In Perugia he was impressed by Perugino's frescoes in Assisi and he took lasting impression of Giotto, Cimabue and other Franciscan painter's works. They then prepared the journey to Syria and Palestine. In Heidenstams tracks found H this way to the Oriental setting, the colors of which would forever gleam in his art. After returning to Italy, he painted the altarpiece to Karbenning church, Mary Magdalene at Christ's tomb, which he showed at the 1901 Academy exhibition.

With the Academy's major travel grant of pocket traveled H 1902 return to Europe. In London, he studied the Assyrian collection in the British Museum. In the summer of 1903, he completed in Italy the illustrations for delivery Legends and ballads. One time, he lived in Rome, employed by copying the old masters, and at the end of the trip he visited Ravenna for which he had long desired to study the Byzantine mosaics. In June 1905 he returned to Sweden with a rich baggage of sketches and paintings. He was now set to stay home and work in the area he felt to be his, namely the Christian monumental painting.

H's first major work after returning home, they became four glass windows of the choir in the Katarina Church, which depicts Christ's birth, baptism, resurrection and ascension. Then he took the deal with the decoration of the roof of the Clara Church, as in monumental scenes depicting the life of Jesus. The next major work was the decoration of the Ferdinand Boberg at Knut Wallenberg's mission designed and constructed Uppenbarelsekyrkan in Saltsjöbaden, which was completed in 1913. The result was figuratively extremely rich, a swarm of Christian figures, scenes and symbols in blue, gold, maroon and violet in one of Byzantine and Assyrian art strongly influenced style. Then followed the paintings in Engelbrecht's Church in Stockholm in 1914 and a number of other mural tasks. On the side, he painted altarpieces, including Holy Veronica with sweat cloth to Högalidskyrkan 1923rd

H was also active as a book illustrator. His main task in this area was Gustaf V's Bible, which was published in 1927. 1912 did H Poster for the Olympic Games in Stockholm. He has also been hired as a signatory of the stamps. Among others, he has performed the beautiful New Sweden brands and postal commemorative series. H has appeared also as a graphic artist, portrait, staffli- and watercolor painter. Mainly, however, the contributions he made to the renewal of the en muralmåleriet. Alongside all -isms, he created his own style, based on an intimate knowledge of and familiarity with Christian symbols and the older ecclesiastical art of expression and a more than ordinary skill.



The story behind the poster

One of the most important measures taken in connection with the work of advertising, was the adoption of an official Poster. After a thorough examination of several sketches sent in, and after having conferred with prominent Swedish artists in the matter, the Swedish Olympic Committee, at a meeting held on the 27 June, 1911, determined to accept the poster by Olle Hjortzberg, of the Royal Academy, which had been sent in to the Committee in 1910, but had afterwards been slightly altered, representing the march of the nations — each athlete with a waving flag — to the common goal of the Olympic Games. Thorsten Schonberg’s poster was placed second, this design representing the entrance of a Marathon runner into the festively decorated Stadium, while, as number three, came Axel Törneman’s poster, a javelin-thrower, with the Stadium in the background. The poster, the execution of which was confided to A. Börtzell’s Printing Co., Stockholm, was in seven colours, the size being 74.5 × 107 cm. A proof was sent by the firm in the middle of October, 1911, after which the chief part of the order was completed during the course of the next three months, but it was found necessary to order additional copies, to satisfy the large demand for the placard received from various quarters. The same step had to be taken with regard to the advertising stamp, the advertising pamphlet and the general programme.
It is to be regretted that, in consequence of various circumstances, the poster was not in readiness earlier than 6 months before the Games as, for advertising purposes, it would have been of advantage to have had a greater amount of time available for its distribution, a task that now had to be performed in a very great hurry.
The text was as follows:

 

At first, the poster was printed in 8 different editions, each in a different language, but in consequence of the repeated demands made from several other countries, this number had to be doubled, so that it finally appeared with the text in no less than 16 languages, several of which caused no little difficulty to the printers. The total number of copies of each edition, as determined by the orders received from the various countries, were as follows:

English
German
French
Swedish
Russian
Spanish

26'800

16'300

13'000

13'300

3'000

3'000


Dutch
Italian
Portuguese
Finnish
Hungarian
Japanese

2'550

2'000

1'850

1'500

1'400

1'000


Turkish
Greek
Bohemian
Chinese


Total

800

750

750

350


88'350


Various opinions have been expressed regarding the value of the poster from an advertising point of view, but it may be said that its artistic merits have been universally acknowledged, and that in a special degree from the most competent quarters. The motif of the poster was criticized, however; many, and influential voices being raised in favour of the adoption of a placard of a purely athletic character — the one proposed being Schonberg’s drawing, as this, it was thought, would be far more effective as an advertisement.
Remarks were made from diplomatic quarters, too, fears being expressed that the order in which the various standards were shown on the poster — though their placing was determined by coloristic, and not political, reasons — might perhaps awaken discontent, and give rise to unnecessary disputes ; these fears were probably exaggerated, but in several cases proved to be well grounded, the result being that the poster somewhat failed in its object in certain districts, as in some cases a disinclination was shown to exhibit it, this adding very considerably to the difficulty of properly and thoroughly advertising the Games. Another, but more unexpected circumstance contributed to hinder the spread of the poster, this being that, in several 266 places abroad, especially in hotels and similar public localities, it was categorically forbidden to exhibit it — from moral considerations. This step was taken officially in two special cases, viz., in China, where the Postmaster General forbade the exhibition of the placard as “being offensive to Chinese ideas of decency,” and in Holland, where a poster, which happened to be hanging in a railway station at a little town, was confiscated as being “in the highest degree immoral”. This decision was afterwards rescinded.
The flags of the following nations were seen on the Poster: Austria, Japan, Belgium, Luxemburg, China,  Norway, Denmark, Portugal, France, Russia, Germany,  Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Greece, Switzerland, Holland, Turkey, Hungary, U. S. A. and Italy.


The poster stamps

A reproduction of the poster on a greatly diminished scale, or 4.5 × 6 cm executed in 6 colours, and supplied in perforated sheets, each containing 81 stamps, was employed as an advertising stamp, intended to be placed on postal communications. The first specimen copies of these stamps, which were supplied by the A.-B. Centraltryckeriet, Stockholm, were received in the middle of October, 1911, the edition being printed during the course of the next two months, but a large number of extra copies had afterwards to be printed to supply the further demand. They were issued with the text in the following languages:

 


ENGLISH VERSION

GREEK VERSION

HUNGARIAN VERSION

ITALIAN VERSION

FRENCH VERSION

JAPANESE VERSION

GERMAN VERSION

BOHEMIAN VERSION


PORTUGUESE VERSION

RUSSIAN VERSION

SPANISH VERSION

SWEDISH VERSION


DUTCH VERSION

TURKISH VERSION

CHINESE VERSION

FINNISH VERSION



General program of the Games