Profile exhibition

Rugstorparn

Välkommen till en mindre utställning som hyllar konstnären Helge Ruglands enastående träsniderier! Följ med på en resa genom Kalmarbornas liv och minnen skildrade i detaljer av denna konstnär från byn Rugstorp.

About Helge Carlson, known as "Rugstorparn"

In the village of Rugstorp, located 4 miles northwest of Kalmar, Helge Carlsson was born in 1897. With a farming background from his father Carl Nilsson and mother Jenny Göransson, he drew inspiration from his Småland homeland. The brother Charles took over the family farm, and both brothers adopted the common surname Carlsson, a custom that characterized rural traditions at the time. When he married in 1938, he took the surname Rugland,

In his youth, Helge balanced between studies and work on the family farm. Despite early plans to become a farmer, he soon abandoned that idea for his passion – wood carving. In the years 1916-1917 and 1919-1920, he was educated at Högalids Lantmanna and Folkhögskola. He had plans to train as an agronomist, but carving soon completely took over.

The provincial doctor in Grönskåra, Kurt Bergström, encouraged Helge to immerse himself in wood carving. He spurred Helge to send letters and pictures of some of his carved old men to the artist Carl Milles. He became very interested and responded with a long letter encouraging him to pursue carving.

"Rugstorparn", as he was called, carved a number of sculptures of more or less famous Kalmar residents, everything from Governor Falk to the little man on the street. They became astonishingly portrait-like, and when the figures were then exhibited in the window of the Dillbergska bookshop in Kalmar, they reportedly caused a crowd to gather in the street outside. The year was 1925 and thus Helge Carlsson had made his first deals and understood that he could make a living from his carving. After the breakthrough, several major exhibitions followed one after another.

Mostly Rugstorparn worked in alder, it was a suitable type of wood to cut and gave a tanned look to the old men. He was an astute observer of his surroundings and he recorded people's appearance in his memory and especially liked to travel by train. There he could sit undisturbed and watch his fellow passengers. Through his wooden figures, Helge Rugland wished that the memory of the people in his homeland would live on.

When Helge Carlsson broke through, he was often compared to Döderhultarn. This was not so strange, as both came from the same part of Småland and both depicted figures and situations in the society around them. The newspapers wrote that a worthy successor has finally come to Döderhultarn. However, they differ a lot in style. While the character is expressed in the whole figure of Döderhultarn's characters, Rugstorparn concentrates on the face. The images of the people are portrait-like, although he felt he had the right to change a feature here and there. His eyes, mouth and mine play meant a lot to him.