|ARTIST BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: ||
Olle Holmsten was born and raised in the old university town of Upsala, Sweden, where at the age of fifteen he had his first experience with clay during a summer job at a commercial, low-fire, ceramics factory. He was accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts in Sockholm, Sweden, graduating in 1941 after six years of study in the Academy's School of Sculpture. He continued art studies in Denmark and Norway and later at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and Academic de la Grand Chamiere in Paris (1946-47). He exhibited widely in Europe and created several large commissioned artworks before immigrating to Canada in 1954. He arrived in Edmonton, where his first job was as a labourer working on the construction of Jasper Avenue during the summer heat. He was a house painter for a while before moving to Vancouver to work, again painting houses. After winning a competition to create a sculpture for the first Vancouver Festival for the Arts, he was able to revive his artmaking career. Moving back to Edmonton, he worked as an instructor of ceramics for the Recreation and Cultural Development Branch of the Provincial Government in Edmonton (1960-61) and then took a position as an instructor of sculpture at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary from 1964 to 1980.
Olle Holmsten had a rich career as a sculptor of commissioned artworks, many for prominent public display. He is well-known for the group of bronze and concrete historically-themed sculptures sited in various locations at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton. He was also commissioned to do a number of important portrait sculptures including a portrait bust of former Lieutenant Governor Grant MacEwan and a full-length bronze of Princess Louise for the Legislature building to commemorate Alberta's 75th anniversary.