Kenyon College

Carl Emil Milles (Swedish, 1875-1955)


During the first half of the 20th century, sculptor Carl Milles (1875-1955) dominated the Swedish art world. He received many public commissions in Sweden and abroad. He was a monumental sculptor who received many public art commissions at a time when many cities expanded and were modernised. Carl Milles may be described as a traditional as well as an innovative artist. In his choice of motifs he was traditional. Ancient Greek, Roman and Christian mythology as well as Swedish history were often his sources of inspiration. His art was always figurative and often narrative. The innovation was to be found in his personal interpretation of the motifs and that he, especially in his later years, raised up the sculptures, and with the aid of hidden steel constructions had them appear to be floating in the air. He sculpted in heavy, hard materials such as granite and bronze and paired the sculptures with the lightest of materials, water and air, by placing them in fountains and raising them up in the air so that they interacted with the sky. Although inspired by the art of antiquity and mythology, Carl Milles’ own pictorial language was often not classical. He happily borrowed stylistic features from Greek and Etruscan art and non-European cultures. Carl Milles was a very productive artist. His greatest creation was Millesgården, his life’s achievement that he worked on for 50 years.

Bio from:

photo: public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Sara Miller

Just a reminder, that you also have the smaller piece of the five angels in the collection now.

Best regards, Sara

8 years ago
Chris Yates

Thank you for alerting us to the mistake. A correction has been made.

Christopher Yates
Assistant Director, Gund Gallery

8 years ago
Peter Blomberg

Carl Milles had nothing to do with Switzerland, he was Swedish American, or just Swedish.

8 years ago


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