Marika Arleman-Leander was a textile artist, designer and watercolour painter who among other things executed botanically correct flower motifs.
Edla Anna Marika Arleman-Leander was born in 1917 in Stockholm. Her mother was the author Anna Arleman and her father was the artist Hjalmar Arleman who was also a lute-player and singer. Together her parents wrote and illustrated storybooks for their daughter: Pappas och Mikas underbara resa and Mikas marknadsresa in 1924 and Prinsessan som tappade sin krona in 1927.
Marika Arleman-Leander grew up with art and music. Her father Hjalmar loved singing and performing and in 1936 he and Evert Taube among others started the singers’ association Samfundet Visans Vänner. The same year, Marika Arleman-Leander started her training as a textile artist at the art college Högre konstindustriskolan (now Konstfack) in Stockholm. There she learned to weave and make lace, design patterns and dye yarn. In the summer holidays, she worked at the association Hemslöjden in Växjö, at Libraria Konsthantverk AB, an atelier for church textiles, or collected plants for future sessions of dyeing.
Marika Arleman-Leander qualified as a pattern designer in 1939, the same year as her classmate Marianne Richter. She especially loved a special kind of Swedish embroidery used on the cuffs of folk costumes and she enjoyed spending her time studying flowers. She was awarded scholarships from the Hans Oskar and Amalia Rundqvist fund and was enabled to make study trips to Italy, France and Switzerland. In 1942, Marika Arleman-Leander participated in an exhibition of Swedish arts and handicrafts called Svensk Form in Copenhagen. Her entry was a hanging tapestry on linen in several shades of pink. Other artists participating with textile works were Signe Asplund, Hildegard Dinclau, Elsa Gullberg and Barbro Nilsson.
Marika Arleman-Leander also trained at the art college Konsthögskolan’s school of etching in Stockholm in 1942–1944. When the Bromma concert and lecture society organised an exhibition with med Bromma artists in 1943, Marika Arleman-Leander contributed some “amusing and tasteful” application embroideries. Her father Hjalmar showed drawings and Sigrid Hjertén showed paintings.
When the annual drawing competition Unga Tecknare was arranged in 1944 at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf visited the exhibition and purchased among other pictures Marika Arleman’s Bygata på Öland. Later he included Det vita rummet, Allé, Bergsklyfta and a couple of flower motifs in his collections. They are all drawn with exquisitely fine ink on paper and the flower motifs are so true to life that they could be included in a professional botanical flora. At an exhibition organised by the company Hyresgästernas sparkasse- och byggnadsföretag (now HSB), Marika Arleman-Leander also exhibited etchings.
During the year of the peace in 1945, Marika Arleman-Leander showed some rugs at the exhibition Vår standard at the Liljevalch art gallery. In November the same year, she married the astronomer Gunnar Larsson-Leander. Together they had a son, Per, and a daughter, Anne-Marie. Eventually the family moved from Stockholm to Lund.
The Nordiska Kompaniets Ljusgård was in 1950 the place for an exhibition of handicrafts with patterns composed by former and current students at Konstfack. Marika Arleman-Leander’s contribution was Krukväxter, a cushion sewn in white yarn on naturally coloured fabric framed with a narrow edging. She also presented the tea trolley cloth Endast myrgång. At a drapery competition organised by the guild Hantverkarnas gille, Marika Arleman-Leander’s contribution was awarded a prize. The national association Svensk Hemslöjd had a show of pattern sheet series at the art gallery Ekströms Konstsalong near Kungsträdgården in Stockholm in 1952. Several textile artists had contributed to the highly colourful series, three of them being Marika Arleman-Leander, Barbro Nilsson and Ingrid Skerfe-Nilsson. The exhibition was opened by Princess Sibylla. Eivor Fisher published a book about Swedish embroidery the same year entitled Svensk broderikonst, with among other things pattern sheets to copy. The artists behind the patterns were for example Kaisa Melanton, Randi Fisher, Ann Mari Forsberg, Marika Arleman-Leander and her old student comrade Marianne Richter.
Marika Arleman-Leander participated in a great number of group exhibitions in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Uppsala and Copenhagen. She is represented at the Nationalmuseum with three etchings: Romeo och Julia, Insyn and Högsommarbäck. In his will, King Gustaf VI Adolf donated in 1974 the art works he had purchased from Marika Arleman-Leander to Moderna Museet where she is also represented by the pen and brush work Midsommarblomster.
About her later years in life almost nothing is known. Marika Arleman-Leander died in 1984. She has her final resting place in the memorial garden at the Northern Cemetery in Lund.