Nordström’s life



Born in Helsinki. Parents Gunnar and Tyyne (née Pihlström), younger siblings Inga-Brit and Tove-Maj.


The family returns to Finland after four years in Germany, where the father completed his degree in architecture. Nordström grows up ‘under the drawing board’ and works as a drafter for his father. The family lives in the Etu-Töölö and Ullanlinna neighbourhoods of Helsinki.



The war interrupts Nordström’s studies at the Svenska normallyceum school. Works in in Eastern Finland driving logs. There, Nordström meets his long-time friend, future art critic and collector Carl-Johan af Forselles.


Returns home from military service during the Continuation War. Nordström graduates from upper secondary school. Works at the standardisation department of the Finnish Association of Architects, drafting for building information documents.


Starts studying to become a furniture designer at the Central School of Industrial Arts. Nordström paints cubist works in his spare time.


Begins an internship at the office of the interior architect Erik Ullrich in Stockholm, where Nordström returns to work on several occasions.


Travels to Paris for his first study trip, with a stopover in Copenhagen. The latest abstract art movements make an indelible impression on Nordström. On his return, he abandons his studies and starts attending the Free Art School’s croquis evenings. Nordström’s first solo exhibition opens at the Taide ja Kehys art and framing shop. It is the first art exhibition in Finland to feature only abstract works. Beginning of the artist’s active career.



The Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris acquires a still life by Nordström from the exhibition of Finnish art. The artist’s works are also on display in Viiva ja väri (Line and colour), an exhibition of modern Finnish graphic art at Kunsthalle Helsinki. Nordström publishes some prose poems in the culture magazine Arena. Writing becomes a means of self-expression and a professional tool. Later, Nordström also writes exhibition and art reviews.


First solo exhibition at Galerie Artek. Nordström joins Groupe Espace, a group of people interested in the integration of visual arts and architecture. The group is an important link for artists interested in abstract visual expression. Nordström works for many years as a part-time assistant in various architectural offices and designs and mounts exhibitions for various clients.


Goes on his second study trip to Paris. Denise René’s renowned gallery for non-representational art becomes Nordström’s base. Returns to Finland via Switzerland and Italy. Teaches for the first time at the Åland Artists’ Association summer course and returns to teach in the following summers.


Second solo exhibition at Galerie Artek. Nordström’s work is also on display in the second Viiva ja väriexhibition at Kunsthalle Helsinki. The exhibition tours Sweden and Switzerland. Around this time, the artist’s work is included in group exhibitions at home and abroad – Nordström’s work is seen as far afield as India.


Takes a course in welding, and applies his new skills to making sculpture from scrap iron.


After living and working in various neighbourhoods of Helsinki, he moves to the Artists’ Association of Finland’s artists’ home in Oulunkylä, Helsinki. Around this time, Nordström was also considering a permanent move to Sweden, which had effectively become his second home country.


Joins the artists’ union Taiteilijaliitto 58, which aimed to be an alternative leader in the Finnish art world and a herald of aesthetic freedom. Nordström often felt he was an outsider in the Finnish art circles, which he considered old-fashioned on the one hand and imitative of fashionable trends on the other.



Goes on a study trip to New York City, where he visits are the city’s art galleries, museums and workshops. Nordström also explores the US jazz music scene.


In the 4 USA-stipendiaattia (4 USA scholarship holders) exhibition at Galerie Hörhammer Nordström shows works made during his trip to America. Nordström will be the only artist at the opening of a touring exhibition of Finnish art in Lübeck, West Germany. A sociable artist with a good sense of humour, he was also a well-liked and charismatic performer.


Responsible for staging the multi-disciplinary Collage 64 performance at Svenska Teatern, directed by Kristin Olson. Earlier, Nordström had also set the stage for Bo Carpelan and Henrik Tikkanen’s play Tadd. In addition to artistic work, designs illustrations for books and album covers.


Meets gallerist Sten Hybler in Copenhagen, Hybler’s eponymous gallery was one of the leading abstract art venues in the Nordic countries. Nordström’s solo exhibition was shown at Galerie Hybler the following year.


Solo exhibition at the recently opened Galerie Aronowitsch in Stockholm, long one of Sweden’s most important spaces for modern art exhibitions.


Visits the United States for the second time. Visits Denver and New York. The minimalist currents of the American art scene convince him of the relevance of his own aesthetic and concept of art.



Solo exhibition at the Amos Anderson Art Museum makes Nordström a pioneer of abstract art in Finland. The following year, Nordström presents his work to the whole nation in the television show Drabbad av klarhet, directed by Claes Mesterton.


The President of Finland awards Nordström the Pro Finlandia medal.


Works at the Ahlström factories in Karhula on his metal sculptures. Around this time, also learns enamelling techniques. During the Helsinki Festival, the artist’s new sculptures are shown in an outdoor exhibition on the Esplanade. After living in Munkkiniemi neighbourhood for a long time, Nordström moves to Taka-Töölö for a few years.


Starts teaching art courses at the Arbis workers’ institute.


Moves to the Lallukka artists’ residence in Etu-Töölö. Since the middle of the decade, Nordström’s work has been exhibited in art exhibitions, especially those presenting the constructivist art movement in Finland and the Nordic countries.


Appointed as the Provincial Artist of the Uusimaa Province, based in Karjaa.



Receives the Marcus Collin Prize from the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland.


Artist of the Year and a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Helsinki. Nordström is awarded the Prince Eugene Medal by the King of Sweden.


Starts a five-year term as an artist professor and serves as an inspector at the Nordic School of Art in Kokkola.


Elected as a member of the Ateneum’s purchasing department for a two-year term.


Participates for the first time in the prestigious Basel Art Fair in Switzerland.


First solo exhibition at Galerie Kaj Forsblom in Helsinki.


In a newspaper interview, Nordström, aged 72, describes his pace of work as manic. Exhibits actively in Finland and abroad. His works are shown in art galleries, art museums and art fairs across Europe.


Nominated for the Nordic Carnegie Art Award.



The artist’s active career ends in serious illness. Lars-Gunnar Nordström leads a quiet life, which is punctuated by daily walks, coffee and visits to record stores. The L-G Nordström Foundation is established to preserve the artist’s life work and legacy. Collaboration with Galerie Forsblom intensifies. A major retrospective exhibition held at the gallery.


Last large-scale paintings, made with an assistant.


Honorary member of the Association of Finnish Sculptors.


Dies during a short hospital stay just days before his 90th birthday.