June 25, 2014

Birger Lundquist - Illustrator

Dagens Nyheter, our largest national daily newspaper, is having a jubilee this year, and are running lots of historical articles, most of which I enjoy to read, being bent in that direction. I particularly enjoyed reading about Birger Lundquist, who was a ground-breaking illustrator in the 30´s and 40´s, introducing a more sketch-like aesthetic to the newspaper illustration. He was aided by the introduction of blacker ink to the fountain pen, which made it easier to make a sketch on site that was print-ready, and no doubt photography helped to free the illustrators, allowing them to be a bit more creative.

The funeral of King Gustaf V.

He also illustrated books; among the authors he worked with was Alf Henrikson, who wrote daily verses in Dagens Nyheter and many popular books on history, both illustrated by Lundquist. When Lundquist died in 1952, only 41 years old, he was succeded by Bj√∂rn Berg as Henrikson´s illustrator. I have mentioned Berg before, as he also illustrated a favourite Dagens Nyheter journalist of mine, Torsten Ehrenmark.

I snapped these sketches from the article, and found some more about him here. I absolutely love his style, as I love Berg´s, maybe it´s because they communicate a feeling of urgency that comes from being there when it happens. A photograph can´t do it the same way. Pressing the shutter takes as long whatever the circumstances. Drawing is another matter. Lundquist must have drawn all the time - he left some 80.000 drawings when he died.

One of his collegues, who were once typing in the car which Lundquist was driving, looked up to discover that he was drawing and driving at the same time! "It´s only landscapes," he said.

Study of Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander.

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