Saturday, December 8, 2018

CLAES (Clas-Herbert) JONSSON

The youngest of Olga and Folke's children was born 1930 and died this year. He was called Claes in America but as he grew up in Sweden, he was called Clas-Herbert. He, like his parents and his siblings, was also very artistic and expressed this talent in many ways. He worked in many areas and he was a building contractor for many years, working with his brothers Folke (Ponkis) and Bo-Erling in Jacksonville, Florida.

He left Sweden when only sixteen and worked on one of the Swedish America Line's vessel M/S Vretaholm. His uncle(Axel Jonsson) was general manager at the this shipping company. After his two years sailing the seas,  he settled in Jacksonville. He later lived in New Mexico, California and when retired, he settled near his children on the east coast, with his fourth wife Lynne, in a small place Wellsville, NY where they restored the  "Hallsport General Store". It became a center of the community and here he could exhibit his paintings and other art work. The photos of the paintings below were kindly sent by Darr Pace who purchased them from Claes.

Here are som early photos of Claes (thanks Lynne for sending them) that might interest family and friends.

Passport photo 1947

Claes, sixteen on the vessel Vretaholm (below)

M/S Vretaholm

Claes with wife Lynne

Hallsport Church. Built in 1901.
Located across the road from Darr and Noreen's home.
Hallsport Hotel PaintingCalvin Hall built/ran the Hallsport Hotel in the early 1800's. His son,
Squire Hall, ran the blacksmith shop. Hotel on left - blacksmith on right.
The Hallsport, NY Grange hall was built in 1937.
It is now Darr and Noreen 
Pace's home.
The building on the far left is the old general store in Hallsport, NY
USA. Claes and Lynne remodeled it to be their home. Lynne still lives there.

(When Claes and Lynne bought the store in 2011 it was listed like this: 
"Opportunity to resurrect the renowned Hallsport General Store! Once a favorite country store of many this building the old character, built-in cabinets & shelving, and the ice cream station. In addition to the store there is a 2 bedroom apartment you could live in or rent it and have additional income! The 1st & 2nd floor apartment has been partially remodeled and is ready for painting your favorite colors. Also on the 2nd floor is the room that was once the Dance Hall with wood floors & walls, and old gas light fixtures." )

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Marion Brisman, daughter of Anita Hanson, started to paint early 1980.
She has had many exhibitions and every year she and other artists exhibit jointly as "Eleven Signatures".

Marion has also painted on silk and this is a detail of a silk scarf she painted.

Water colour by Marian Brisman.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Eva Stålsjö (daughter of Mary Laurenius) works as an artist and illustrator for  the major book publishers in Sweden
All images copyright Eva Stålsjö

"Älvdans" (Dance of the Elves)
Illustration ur boken "Svea Rikets vagga" avDag Stålsjö.
An illustration from a book by her husband Dag Stålsjö

Eva  has participated in many television projects and her Christmas saga, BIG BROTHER AND LITTLE SISTER VISITING THE ELVES (STOREBROR OCH LILLASYSTER HOS TOMTARNA)  initially a Christmas saga for television, has now become an app in Swedish and English.
In the early 1960's, Eva was working on some illustrations when her husband Dag suggested a storyline that turned into the saga it is today.


Like all of Olga and Folke's children, Sigrid was talented. This drawing was a gift to her sister Mary whom she and the other siblings were truly devoted to. Mary had an angel's temperament and sweetness my mother told me.

I know that Sigrid had had an exhibition downtown Gothenburg before she moved to America in 1939. The little advertisement mentioned decorated items including Chinese lacquer work. I am not sure if she continued doing this in America, but if so, please send me (Leif) some photos.
Sigrid (in the middle) during a visit to Sweden with her sister Anita to the left and her brother Billy on her right.


Mary Laurenius, daughter of Olga and Folke made beautiful waste paper baskets using the "raising compound" (upphöjningsmassa) her mother used for Chinese lacquer work. The compound is made with "English red" pigment, ground pumice stone and shellac and applied with a knitting needle.
In this particular item, shells and starfish have been incorporated in the design. All sides are covered and it must have been a labour of love.

This is one of Mary's more traditional waste paper baskets where she skilfully applied a picture and framed it with the raising compound on all sides.

During the 1950's when almost everyone smoked and just about every table in the house had an ashtray, it was desirable to have an elegant matchbox nearby  and Mary made and sold these in large quantities. The larger matchbox (above) was actually made by her mother Olga from old costume jewellery but later renovated by Mary. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Rolf Jonsson 1883-1965), a  brother of Folke and Rut became a full-time painter living with his family at Särö all his life. He married Annie whom he met in Cornwall when he studied art there.

"For those at Sea" painted 1914 in Cornwall, England by Rolf Jonsson.
The painting was no doubt bought by Olga and Folke since the picture hung in their livingroom at Lysholmen, Särö as long as anyone can remember. It now hangs in Särö Church, a donation by Gunilla Hellström, the daughter of Olga and Folke.

Rolf (3)  is sitting second from left in this photo of wealthy Särö children around 1900.
He is accompanied by his sister Rut (2) and brother Folke (5) and some friends whose names are not known. Please email Leif if you know.


Folke had  a sister Rut who married Hjalmar Atterbom.
She was very talented and only a very few drawings have survived.

This drawing is of "Tante Axeline", a friend of her father ( Axel Jonsson). It has been difficult to establish exactly who Tante Axeline is but she is often mentioned in grandfather Folke's letters to Olga ("My Darling Olga"). 

Rut and Folke's mother Ragnhild Jonsson died very young of diabetes. She was also an artist but I have sadly not found any of her work. 


Sonja Baum, daughter of Sigrid Howell

Sonja Baum: "MacChuck"


Olga's eldest daughter Anita, was a very talented artist like most of Olga and Folke's children. Anita decorated this old Swedish clock (Moraklocka). 
She also learned Chinese lacquer and renovated some of Olga's pieces that had deteriorated. Unfortunately there is not much else to show here, but if anyone has something, take a photo and send it to me (Leif). Anita was probably quite young and lived at home  when the clock was decorated. She married in 1934, 24 years old.

In 1931, when Anita was 21, she and her mother Olga, her sister Sonia and Mary all went to Florida to be with Anita Dawson, Olga's mother, who had suffered a heart attack. Olga stayed with her mother, but Anita "discovered America" as is obvious from the article in the Macon Evening News (Georgia). It is very interesting as it reveals much about the time on both continents.

This little drawing was given by Anita 13 year old, to her grandmother Anita (Ball) Dawson from Jacksonville in Florida, who often spent time with the family at Särö. Grandmother Anita glued it into her massive scrapbook where i discovered it years later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


This is a Swedish newspaper article mentioning Sonia's exhibition at the GREER GALLERY in New York 1971.

The NEW YORK MAGAZINE 1 November 1971
has Sonia Hernod's exhibition at the Greer Gallery listed as 
"Surrealistic Gouaches" through 10/30.

This is a page from young Mary Jonsson's (later Laurenius) notebook.
Her very young sister Sonia has gifted her with this little drawing.


Grandmother Olga in the winter garden (Stengården) at Lysholmen (outside Gothenburg) many years ago. Have a look at Lysholmen (below) and listen to grandmother Olga play the piano at the same time.

Olga was born 1890 in New Mexico, grew up in Florida and married her husband Folke when only 18. They met in Brussels/Paris where he romantically proposed on the Eiffel tower. She had no idea how children were conceived, and by the time she was 32, she had had eight children. She had many artistic talents, too, as shown below.
She loved to paint flowers. These are some of her many oil paintings.

She also learned to do Chinese Lacquer work in London. She decorated this chest, but she also had a carpenter make lamps that she decorated with Chinese lacquer work. She found some of her work in antique shops in Gothenburg years later, sold as genuine.

She proudly told me that she could do the pattern free hand.
This mirror goes with the chest as well as the matching chairs below.


She was also interested in Swedish Folk Art and made this bridal chest.
She gave it to the Red Cross Lottery sometime in the 1950s, filled with linen. 
My mother was lucky to win it, so it stayed in the family.
The insides of the bridal chest.

Detail of the inside of the bridal chest.
This is a handmade Swedish wooden basket decorated by grandmother.
She used the raising compound (upphöjningsmassa) she used for her Chinese lacquer to make the mushrooms stand out.
More of her Swedish Folk Art decorations.
I loved to spend time with my super-interesting grandmother and she was pleased to see later in life, that I had taken up the tradition of painting Swedish folk Art also.

This was originally a thin wooden ladle, used to put bread into big  wood fired ovens

The charity work gave Olga and her children many opportunities to express their artistic talents. Olga painted and donated a great variety of items to the Red Cross as can be seen above.

Olga Jonsson
Chinese scene painted on the back of glass. Not many of such paintings remain. I have never seen any.

This particular one was broken, but rescued (glued together and framed).