ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
GUSTAF DALSTROM was born in Gotland, Sweden, on January 18, 1893. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago where his outstanding teachers were George Bellows and Randall Davey. He has painted in Sweden, France, Italy and Germany, is a member of the Chicago Society of Artists, the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists and 10 Artists (Chicago), and has exhibited in various American cities. He has had one-artist exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Woman's Aid. The Chicago Society of Artists' Gold Medal has been awarded him, and his work has been written about in various Chicago publications and in The Arts.
To me intuition for sensing the qualities that make art from a subject is fundamental. The subject matter is that which arouses the art intuition in the artist. Subject matter may be anything. I think that pure abstraction puts new subjects at the disposal of the artist. The relation of subject matter to art has, to me, always been the same. If one can successfully grasp the whole general idea of a motif the form and color will so interrelate that one becomes indispensable to the other. In attempting to explain the phenomena of art the terms form, color, pattern, line and others have been brought into use. I do not try to apply these to a subject but rather do I let a subject reveal them to me. The art of painting, to me, brings forth aspects of life that can be revealed in no other way. It is this rather than any personal characteristics I try to show. No doubt there is personal expression in it but I would not want the personal to detract in any way from the more fundamental phases of art. I think all art is a contribution to society. Many artists have shown me, in their works, something which I would like to have in my own. I cannot say that I have any definite master whom I follow. I try rather to make some revelations of others fit my own conceptions. Art is not of any particular era; it merely takes on the dress of each new era. Being a resident of Chicago I cannot help but partake of some of its characteristics. The term American and Chicagoan pertain to the style of work rather than to the quality of art. While I think the phenomenon of art is outside the division of society into its economic, racial, and religious aspects, I feel it is possible for an artist who is sympathetic to stimulate the spirit of these by means of his art. As to what effect criticism has on my work, I try to correct the faults that are criticized if I can be made to see them. Gustaf Dalstrom.