Julius Olsson RA

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    Moonlit Shore (1911)
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    Rising Moon, St Ives Bay, Cornwall
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    The Night Tide (1915)
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    Julius Olsson in Studio 5

Julius Olsson RA

Porthmeor Studio 5 1895-1900?

Julius Olsson (1864-1942) was a self-taught marine and landscape painter, and a very keen sailor. He played a key part in the life of the St Ives art colony, contributing to many aspects of its creative and social life, and despite moving to London in 1911, remained supportive and connected to the colony for the rest of his life.

Olsson was described as “a big man with a big heart, who paints big pictures with a big brush in a big studio”, and he did more than any other painter to stamp St Ives as a British outpost of impressionism. He ran the School of Landscape and Marine Painting from Porthmeor Studio 5, first with Louis Grier and subsequently with Algernon Talmage. The school built a reputation that attracted students from all over the world, including Emily Carr, Mary McCrossan, Richard Hayley Lever, Borlase Smart and John Park.

He was the dominant figure in the early life of Porthmeor Studios. When the building was being redeveloped in the 1890s, Olsson seems to have been very involved with the design of the studios, resulting in the huge Studio 5 for his school of painting. However within a few years the school moved out, and the studio was subdivided to create three smaller studios.