Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg was a sculptor and graphic artist. For a number of years, she was also one of the owners of the furnishings business Futurum.
Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg was born in 1898 in Turku, Finland. Her parents were Fridolf Almquist, a senior engineer, and his wife Agnes. They also had an older son, Bengt Idestam-Almquist. The family moved after a couple of years to St Petersburg where Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg studied painting with Allan Ebeling, who was a painter, sculptor and potter. Her student work consisted of a cubist-futuristic portrait and a mixture of costume studies, Islamic ornamentation and poster art.
In 1917, Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg moved to Stockholm where she started attending Carl Wilhelmson’s school of painting. The year after, she studied monumental and decorative art at Tekniska Skolan (nowadays Konstfack), and at Konstakademien. The sculptor Carl Milles was one of her teachers, and she and her classmates participated in the work on the Gyllene salen in the city hall (Stadshuset). She later came to work in Milles’ style.
Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg and Erik Blomberg, an author and art historian, were married in 1921 and the same year, their son Dick was born. The couple had three more children, the artist and picture therapist Lill-Marie Blomberg-Rolf as well as Monica and Mark. The family later moved from Stockholm to her parents’ farm Björkbacka in Sigtuna. Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg loved children and her home became the gathering place for the large family and their friends.
At the Paris Exhibition in 1925 (Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes) she was awarded a gold medal for her quaint chess set Schackspel, made in ivory and ebony. Estrid Ericson at the furnishings company Svenskt Tenn liked it and was allowed to take over the production rights and copyright. Since it was usual at that time to emphasise the manufacturer rather than the creator, this led to strife. Finally, Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg won back the copyright. The chess set was also manufactured in tin and gilded tin as well as tin and bronze-patinated lead.
In 1927, Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg travelled to Paris where she studied at the liberal art college Académie de la Grande Chaumière for the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. At an exhibition at Liljevalchs konsthall in Stockholm five years later, sculptures by several artists were shown. The art critic of the major Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter gave the following assessment of her work: ”[…] shows sympathetic although not yet fully developed attempts”.
The national art association Riksförbundet för bildande konst organised a travelling exhibition in 1933—1936 in which Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg participated. She also completed a handful of illustrations for her husband’s Hafis, poems interpreted from the Danish. The couple separated in 1934 but Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg remained at Björkbacka even after the children had left home. The same year, she and her sister-in-law Ebba Köhler, a furniture architect, started the furnishings company Futurum, that designed furniture, lamps, textiles and carpets. Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg mainly designed the hand-printed textiles. The company closed down in 1942 on account of the difficulties caused by the second world war in importing raw materials.
Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg was the only woman to participate in a great Nordic sculpture exhibition that was organised in Copenhagen in 1935. Other participants from Sweden were Eric Grate, Edvin Öhrström, Stig Blomberg and Gustaf Nordahl. The Swedish sculptors were praised for their strict, simple art. During the rest of the 1930s, she also participated with sculptures and busts in collective exhibitions in London, New York and Paris, as well as at Liljevalchs, this time along with Ingrid Geijer and Dagmar Ljungquist.
From 1939, Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg taught among other things ceramic techniques and design in Sigtuna. She was one of the founders of the art association there, Sigtuna Konstförening, and was a very significant person in local art life and for artists there. She was incredibly versatile: apart from being a sculptor and textile artist, she was a fashion and vignette illustrator, a furnishings designer, a graphic artist, an illustrator of children’s books, and a potter.
In 1978, Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg exhibited sculptures at Galleri Trekanten in Sigtuna, under the title Människor (People). The same day, the same advertisement announced the opening of an exhibition at Gröna Galleriet in Sigtuna with Cryptogams. Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg is currently represented at Nationalmuseum with the sculpture Schackpjäs, springare and a ceramic relief: Lavar II. At Moderna Museet, her marble sculpture Konvalescent can be seen. In the retrospective exhibition Kvinnliga pionjärer: svensk form under mellankrigstiden (Women pioneers: Swedish form during the interwar years), she was represented by sketches, wooden prototypes and other preparatory materials for Schackspel.
Marie Louise Idestam-Blomberg died in 1988, at 89 years of age. Her remains rest in Sigtuna cemetery.