An orphan at 14

It’s to this bohemian but also snobbish world that Dick is born. He is only fourteen when his father dies unexpectedly and the year after his mother Dorothea, also with roots in Sweden, dies in her turn. He has then to return to Sweden, in the custody of his uncles and paternal grand-mother in Stockholm. He seems not to have been totally accepted, placed with a relative, the dean Laurell in the small town of Segerstad. But very soon, thanks to the training given him by his father (sketching and drawing, watercolour and oil techniques), he enters the most prestigious of private painting school in the Swedish capital (Ahltins). In 1910, four years after his father’s death, he is admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. But already in 1912, he leaves the Academy without waiting for a diploma. Too academic ! He travels to Paris, the capital of arts. He rents a small flat rue Vercingétorix behind Montparnasse. Monsieur Berg, the director of a Swedish gym in Paris, friend to the Beer family and a small art collector, introduces him to some artistic circles.

Robert Amberlin (© 2002)