THE HISTORY OF TEMPELGÅRDEN
There are people who are more active than others.
People with a dream that they want to realise. People who want to leave a legacy. One such person was the Visingsö artist Olle Krantz.
Olle Krantz was born on Visingsö in 1906. He grew up together with six siblings in a musical and religious family. Olle eventually became a manager of the local Konsum (Today known as Coop) shop on the northern part of the island. But he also lived another kind of life where he painted and created in his spare time, mostly during the nighttime. His dream was to be able to make a living from his art and to build a artist courtyard so that he and others would have the possibility to create and exhibit. He saw the therapeutic value of painting as a way of handling sorrow and troubles in life and find both happiness and meaning. His main purpose with his art was not to be recognised, but to be living a healthy good life and to experience joy.
“The most important thing in life is to not lose faith in your own capability, to not lose your spark. Many people “procrastinate” and believe they can only do the enjoyable things after they retire.
One should not delay what one wants to do, but one tends to do it.”
As an artist Olle was very productive. He can not be placed in any special department or field, he searched his way through many different methods and themes of art. In his art you will find a mix of religion, dreams, memories and love. The paintings often depicts scenes of love, pleasure and women. Other have biblical motives and questions regarding his personal faith. Some paintings depict his life, for example growing up in Visingsö and his first marriage.
In 1948 Olle bought the land area in Säby where Tempelgården is today and where his work began. At that time it was only a farmers field except for one house called Kolla-Pelle Stöva. Olle worked in his Konsum store in the days, worked on the field in the evenings and painted in the nighttime. One year after buying the land he chose to quit his stable job and started to paint full time, despite others disbelief in his efforts. But Olle was stubborn, he would live his dream and so he did.
“... Every community should have a place for a lubber , and the lubber of Visingsö I am!”
Not many people thought things would go as well as they turned out.
Olle made good use of old buildings and moved them to his ground. Tempelgården slowly started to take its shape. When the theosophic society left the Island they also left their temple. Olle wanted to buy it but was not so well off that he could pay the 20.000 kr that was being asked.
There is many stories about how things went during when Olle purchased the temple. One is that the last day before the final day of the selling he won 20.000 kr from the lottery. Another version is that he got 10.000 kr from selling some of his bonds. The third version is that he borrowed 6000 kr and bought the temple for that amount of money. We are not sure about what the final amount was or how he got the money. But he managed to buy it. He then started the slow process of deconstructing the Temple at it's old site in 1956. It is said he did it using his bicycle trolley and moved three pieces each time to his ground in Säby where he slowly put it back together again.
The temple had now gotten it's third location. It is told that Olle used a homemade device made from a mangle to raise the trusses of the building. After the construction was finished he began using the building as his own art studio and gallery for his paintings. The courtyard that is now Tempelgården can be said to be his legacy left to Visingsö and the visitors of the Island.
Tempelgården was run by Olle until 1989 when it was sold to relatives who would take over the result of his life's work. Unfortunately it did not turn out that way, instead it was sold to the Hare Krishna movement which where using it as their main centre in Sweden until it was sold in 1992 to be passed on to other entrepreneurs.
Olle was living on Visingsö until he passed away in 1999, but his artist spirit is still alive here in all that he left behind. The white sculptures is made by him as well as about 60 paintings that can be found in the Temple. Olle made his last exhibition in 1996 and could look back at his life of an artist that had been active more than four decades. He is one of those who gave everything for the art, he created his own universe and kept open to everyone that was interested. We think and hope that there is still a place for such persons that can show an alternative view of the world to make us feel that we don't have to follow the footsteps of everyone else but can choose to walk our own way if we want.
We hope that you will enjoy an artists dream and life work!
The temple was originally built by the theosophic society before a international congress of world peace that would be held on the island in 1913. The initiator was Katherine Tingley. The temple would be used as a artist gallery for the delegates. It featured art by artists like Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, Bruno Liljefors and Carl Milles. The temple was first built by the castle ruins on the southern tip of Visingsö and is an copy of the greek temple Parthenon.
During the congress more than 2000 visitors came from all the corners of the world. Despite many issues and problems that arised because the congress where to be held on such a small island like Visingsö, Katherine was determined to have it at this place. She wanted the participants to have opportunity to celebrate the nordic midsummer festivities in one of the most beautiful areas of Sweden, and to see this historically strange island. The attitude of the islanders to this ceremony was questioning and skeptic. Someone is to have said “Now a whole invasion of foreigners with a foreign teaching have come here and taken all the places in possession”.
The temple was later moved to Stigby on the south side of the island, to be used for the Raja-Yoga school. Because of the first world war the start of the Raja Yoga school was delayed until 1924. The following subjects where taught there: languages, history, geography, mathematics, music, singing, modeling, drawing, painting, handicrafts, weaving, machine typing and stenography.
In the art gallery during the peace congress in 1913 was featured exhibitions of many famous artists like Carl Larsson, Carl Milles, Julius Kronberg, Kristina Gyllenkrona, John Börjesson and many more. There exists a complete list of every piece of a art that was exhibited. Below is a few examples of art that was featured in the exhibition.
It is said that Olle Krantz got to keep the statue “Wings” by Carl Milles. It is featured in a photo in 1936 so it stayed on Visingsö. There is also a deposit receipt that was never signed, but no one knows where the statue is today, perhaps it is hidden somewhere.
Katherine Augusta Westcott Tingley born 6th of July 1847 in Newbury, Massachusetts, died 11 July 1929 in Visingsö, Sweden. She was an american social worker and distinguished theosophic. In the year 1900 she moved the international community headquarter from New York to a new colony which she called Lomaland in Point Loma, San Diego, California. Her settlement included a Raja-Yoga school, a college, a theosophic university and the "School for the Revival of the Lost Mysteries of the Antiquity".
The word theosophy comes from the greece “Theos” and “Sophia” and can be translated to heavenly wisdom. But Theosophy is not a religion. It is a philosophy of life, with the goal to offer each human the possibility to find a solution to the many problems one might face during life.
Katherine Tingley was very fond of Sweden, which she first visited first in 1899. She wanted to start a theosophic centre on Visingsö, but her plans met big resistance, mainly from the church of Sweden. The cornerstone to the school would be placed during a big congress of world peace that the Theosophies held on Visingsö in 1913. But because of the protests the building of the school was delayed until 1924.
The temple was ordered to be built before the congress of world peace 1913 by Katherine Tingley. She used it as a school and for course activities and held Raja-Yoga courses there in 1925. Tingley passed away in 1929, and after her passing a new school building was built on the southern part of Visingsö in an area called Stigby. The school was active until the 1940s where it was temporarily used as a shelter for refugees fleeing from the second world war. Finally it was turned into a youth rehabilitation centre.
Anthroposophy is movement founded in 1913 by a group of people connected to the Austrian philosopher and esoteric Rudolf Steiner after
he decided to leave the Theosophic society. Anthroposophy is usually described as a method or a way of approach to the world rather than a direct teaching.
“One of the reasons I want to live on Visingsö is the fantastic sunsets that some nights give the sky and water a color of gold and purpur” Katherine Tingley