Media Releases

Carl Kohler’s authorportraits on display at U of T

January 14, 2010

TORONTO, ON – Por­traits of famous authors in oil and ink by the late Carl Köh­ler (1919 – 2006) are cur­rent­ly on dis­play at the Robarts Library, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. The art of this Swedish artist and sculp­tor, which was inspired by art and lit­er­a­ture, fea­tures James Joyce, Bren­dan Behan, Samuel Beck­ett, Jean Cocteau, Gün­ter Grass, Hen­ry Miller, Franz Kaf­ka, Joyce Car­ol Oates, Vir­ginia Woolf and oth­ers. “Each face pos­sess­es a cer­tain exag­ger­a­tion … Per­haps, I look for a spe­cif­ic face, the poet­ic dimen­sion.” (Carl Köh­ler)

Carl Kohler worked main­ly with paint­ing and col­lage, exper­i­ment­ing freely with dif­fer­ent expres­sions, tech­niques and sub­jects he found in the worlds of the­atre, music, dance and lit­er­a­ture. Using oil, acrylic, draw­ings and graph­ics, he worked in the neo mod­ernist tra­di­tion. Carl Köh­ler dis­played his work through­out Swe­den. He received sev­er­al cul­tur­al and art schol­ar­ships dur­ing his life, the last of which was award­ed by the Swedish Painters Soci­ety when he was 85. 

“My father was very inter­est­ed in lit­er­a­ture. One of his pas­sions was French lit­er­a­ture and the French lan­guage. And there are many French author por­traits in this exhi­bi­tion. Apart from a few exhi­bi­tions as a stu­dent in Paris and one lat­er on in Cana­da, Carl Köh­ler nev­er exhib­it­ed out­side Swe­den dur­ing his life­time,” said his son Hen­ry Köh­ler. 

Köh­ler didn’t leave a will, but told his chil­dren, Hen­ry and Fri­da to “take care of my art work,” which is what they are now doing by mak­ing sure it is seen by a broad­er audi­ence. His author­por­trait exhi­bi­tion has been shown at the Stock­holm August Strind­berg Muse­um. His Dance/Ballet paint­ings were shown at the Con­cert Hall in Stock­holm. Mov­ing on to North Amer­i­ca, the Author­por­traits were exhib­it­ed at the Brook­lyn Cen­tral Library and the Mar­tin Luther King Jr Memo­r­i­al Library in Wash­ing­ton DC. The Cana­di­an tour starts at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, from where it will trav­el to the Irv­ing K Bar­ber Learn­ing Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia.

WHERE: Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Robarts Library, 130 St. George Street, 1st floor
WHEN: 11 Jan­u­ary – 14 March 2010


For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Gabriela Bra­vo

Hen­ry Köh­ler