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Olivia Holm-Møller

Olivia Holm-Møller (1875-1970) was born in the Danish village of Homå on Djursland. Her childhood home was influenced by Grundtvigian thoughts, and as a young woman Olivia Holm-Møller taught Danish, needlework and gymnastics at different Grundtvigian private, independent schools and folk high schools.
At the age of 26, she went to Copenhagen. In 1901-02, she received instruction from August Saabye and Viggo Johansen at the Academy's school of art for women. After a few years' break, during which she made models for stoves at C.M. Hess' factory in Vejle, she attended evening classes at the Academy for a short while. 
In her early career as an artist, Olivia Holm-Møller mostly worked with sculpture and relief, and the source of her motifs was largely her family and relatives. From 1914, however, painting became her primary means of expression. 
This same year, Olivia Holm-Møller returned to Homå. When her sister-in-law died in childbirth, Olivia Holm-Møller took responsibility as foster mother of two small nephews.
Olivia Holm-Møller’s paintings are expressive, audacious and full of intense emotions. Pure, strong and bright colours – during the first many years especially yellow – are a central, artistic effect in her paintings. The motifs are inspired by Nordic mythology and the Bible. Also, motifs from her near environment, the two nephews, her family and harvest scenes find their way to her canvas, but never as a mere representation of reality. The motifs always refer to a greater and more common theme. 
Olivia Holm-Møller travelled widely all her life. Before World War I, she went to Italy several times. After World War II she travelled with her friend and colleague Jens Nielsen to remote destinations like Africa, Mexico, Egypt, India and China. When travelling, she made sketches in the form of water colours, etchings and drawings. Back home the sketches were turned into paintings, which were not exact recordings of tourist attractions, but depictions of her personal experiences of the colours, sceneries and people of foreign countries.
A special space in her artistic universe features a number of paintings from the 1930s and 1950s with titles such as ”Just colour and rhythm”. Olivia Holm-Møller imagined that everything could be expressed in colours without the picture representing anything. These non-objective pictures with explosive eruptions of colour can be seen as descriptions of moods, musical experiences or the essence of an experience of nature with only the colours left.
Olivia Holm-Møller worked with painting, drawing and etching in extreme old age, but had difficulties being recognised. All her life, she was an individualist looking at the established world of art with scepticism – and being looked upon herself with scepticism. After her death a large collection of her pictures was gathered at Museet Holmen in Løgumkloster in Southern Jutland. In 1982, the collection was turned over to Jens Nielsens Museum (the Jens Nielsen Museum) in Holstebro, which changed its name to Jens Nielsen & Olivia Holm-Møller Museet. In 1987, the museum became a branch of Holstebro Kunstmuseum. The museum branch is dissolved at the end of 2013, but her many works remain a part of the Holstebro Kunstmuseum collection. 
Olivia Holm-Møller