Lena Cronqvist was born in Karlstad, in Sweden, in 1938.
From 1959 to 1964, she attended the Royal University Collage of Fine Arts in Stockholm. From 1958 to 1959, she studied at the National College of Arts, Crafts and Design of Stockholm.
She currently lives and works in Sweden where she is also a member of the Royal Academy of Art.
At the end of the 1970s in Sweden, as in many other countries, the nature of painting was being seriously debated. Artists wanted to break with tradition; they preferred to apply new expressive and much more contemporary means to painting. Moreover, the themes which urgently felt the needed to be faced, even through art, were linked to daily life, politics and social questions. Many saw posters and photography as the only possible means of expression in that period.
Cronqvist, instead, decided to explore an incompatible figurativeness that was expressed precisely through publicity and was distant from the abstraction then very much in vogue. She was inspired by Francis Bacon, who succeeded in evoking contemporary intensity yet did not break with the traditional or with painting.
Cronqvist’s works address great and small dramas. Her recurring themes are identity and family: the role of children and parents, the latter always present in her pictorial works, sometimes depicted as chubby little babies.
Though Cronqvist achieved artistic success as a painter, she also has dedicated herself to sculpture, beginning in the 1990s. With glass and bronze, she often has reproduced family scenes, parents and children in everyday poses and children’s games – always with a bitterly ironic and cynical vision in respect to social roles and the state of the family.
Despite the clearly autobiographical nature of her works, the artist has succeeded in treating family and personal subjects in a universal way.