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Grafstrom, Jonas Olof

Born: 1855 AD
Died: 1933 AD

Swedish-American painter who was born in Attmar, Medelpad, Sweden 11 June 1855. Olof Grafstrom graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm in 1882. After painting in Sweden for several years, he first came to the United states in 1886 and lived in Portland, Oregon where one of his paintings won a silver medal at the1890 Exposition. Several other of his paintings, including one, "A View of Spirit Lake" which shows Mt. St Helens before it’s eruption in 1980, were also awarded honors at various competitions.

Olof Grafstrom lived for a time in Portland, San Francisco and Spokane before moving to Kansas where he taught at Bethany College from 1893 to 1897. From 1897 to 1926 he headed the Art Department at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. and painted hundreds of landscapes, portraits and large altar pieces during his time there before suffering a heart attack in 1926 and returning to Sweden, where he died 30 March 1933 in Stockholm.

Samples of Olof Grafstrom’s work reside at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Augustana College in Rock Island, IL., at several museums and the Stockholm Palace in his native Sweden, as well as in many private collections. His large altar pieces can still be found in several older Lutheran churches across America including his "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane" 1899 at the First Lutheran Church, Lake City, MN., "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane",1894  in Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester, MA., and "The Risen Christ" 1915 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Seattle, WA.