Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Abu Art, by Wayne Real

We are honored this week to have a great article by my friend Wayne Real from Australia on ABU artwork. It's a nifty piece and we should all thank Wayne for sharing with us!

by Wayne Real

My all time favourite image from ABU, Napp och Nytt was produced for the 1956 catalog and evokes in me, many happy childhood fishing moments. I certainly didn't have a fine Record casting reel like this lucky boy, but for kids it was not the technology being employed, rather grasping the freedom, excitement and opportunity of the moment!

May kids worldwide continue always to experience these joys!

After some discussion with Len Borgstom, (quotes below) I have learned a lot more about the working environment of A.B.Urfabriken in Svangsta.

So you can see ABU's appreciation for fine art was present from the beginning and continues to this day.

Art was not merely created on paper with pen and ink or watercolours or photographs, it was also cast in bronze as small limited edition objects d'art to be won in fishing competitions as well as massive corporate casting, some of which Len Borgstrom has kindly invited us into his home to share with us here.

The Marlin, typical universal exaggerating fisherman and School of Salmon

I was well aware of the consideration of aesthetics by the company to produce such beautiful products but it seems the employees were immersed in fine art even when relaxing at lunch time.

Len noted: "As I have mentioned in my book, we also had an active Art Club at ABU. We invited known Swedish artists to hang their art in the ABU cafeteria so that every employee got a chance to constantly be exposed to fine art."

We all remember the beautiful Jubilee year in 1971 when the covers of Napp och Nytt /Tight Lines changed from the traditional photographic fishing images to artistic paintings. Unfortunately this approach lasted for 10 years only.

Len continued: The covers of Napp och Nytt were created by well known artists. We got tired of doing what everybody else did – having products or some fisherman holding a fish on the cover. I have mentioned this in my book. We started with that idea 1971 with a famous illustrator Ib Thaning , Denmark. 1972 Gunnar Brusewitz, Sweden I forgot who made 1973, 1974 Harald Wiberg, Sweden, 1975 with Tom Sayers and Huckleberry Finn, by Per Ã…hlin (this artist also made animated movies). 1976 was an American artist (Scott), 1977 Ralph Judell, Sweden. 1978 the name of the Swedish artist was Arenhill. 1979 an artist from Checkoslovakia, 1980 a Danish well known artist Mads Stage, I do not know who made the leaping salmon 1981, but I would think that Bengt Olofsson would know. As you know, I left for the US 1978 and the last picture that I picked was Mads Stage"

ABU was also responsible for furthering the artistic careers of several of its employees.

"Two employees ended up being full time sculptors. One of them (Hjalmar Ekberg) made the four piece relief showing the history of fishing, hanging in the entrance stairways to the main factory in Svangsta. The other artist (Johnny Martinsson) made the relief showing my father located outside the same factory."

Hopefully more to follow....

Some ABU Line Art from their catalogs.

An early ABU Photograph.

(© 2009 Wayne Real)

Thanks Wayne! Of course, my favorite piece of ABU art would have to be this one...For those who haven't visited, go to Wayne's Abu Web Site!

-- Dr. Todd

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