Axel Birkholm

The painter Axel Birkholm was Flemming Holm’s uncle on his mother’s side.

Axel Birkholm was born in 1909 to Christian and Karen Birkholm of Thisted, Jutland, Denmark. His name was originally spelled Aksel, after a brother who died in infancy, and later changed the spelling to Axel. He obtained free mellemskole education in Thisted. He served an apprenticeship as a woodcarver while in his teens, and found employment in Malmö, Sweden. Later he became proficient in other forms of art.

He married rather late in life, and he and his wife Margit, a Swedish artist, made their home in Stockholm; they had no children. During his years in Malmö however Axel fathered a daughter who after his death helped Margit in arranging exhibitions of her father’s paintings. Both Axel and Margit made their living by their art.  He died in 1984.

He would send works on paper, especially lithographs, to his sister, my grandmother Magda. They have become familiar treasures in our homes in Canada. His nephew Palle Birkholm in Jutland has also sent me photos of Axel’s work in his possession. I am compiling photos of his work on this page. If you have some, feel free to send them to me.

I’m pretty sure the little picture below was painted by my great-uncle Axel Birkholm when he was a child. On the back are the type of experiments with signatures and initials that many kids make. I figure my grandparents brought the little picture on the boat with them in 1929 as a memento of the talented little brother. Now the little painting is a treasure that I hang on my Christmas tree.

When I was a child, he made a visit to Nova Scotia to see his 3 sisters who were living here: Magda, Esther and Mille. I recall my mother saying that she found him quite charming.

More of his works can be found here: https://sis.modernamuseet.se/people/11498/axel-birkholm/objects

  • Heather Holm