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