Navigation (in separate window)

Homepage Art History on Stamps

Search Google

Ivan Aguéli
1869-1917

Back to Symbolism

Ivan Agueli was born on 24th May 1869 in Sala, Sweden.  His family name was originally Agelii, which he later changed to Aguéli, possibly as an analogy to "water".  He was a religious philosopher, orientalist and also a genius within visual arts.  He spoke 16 languages. 

 Sweden 1969. Symbolism. Ivan Agueli. Souvenir sheet commemorating Aguéli's birth centenary.

Sweden 1965. Prince Eugene.

During the 1890s he lived in Paris, where he was imprisoned for being an active anarchist.  He was released before his term, due to the intervention of the Swedish Prince Eugene.  He used his time in jail to read religious books, and taught himself Arabic through a translation of the Gospel of St. John, as well as he studied linguistic analogies in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Hindustani, partly through biblical texts.  In the Arabic language he found a kinship with his own art, and several of his paintings are signed in Arabic. 

  • Sweden 1965.  Prince Eugene, he himself a recognized artist, was the brother of the late Swedish King Gustaf VI Adolf (father of the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark).  Scott # 680.  The stamp is engraved by Czeslaw Slania.  

He was one of the first Scandinavians to come in contact with the Egyptian Bahái Movement.  In 1902 he settled in Ramleh, close to Alexandria, Egypt, where he adopted the name Abd Al-Hadi ("The Mentor's Servant").  While living in Ramleh he started the Arab-Italian magazine "An-Nadi - Il Convito", which first appeared on 22nd Mai 1904.

His magazine's most important target was to waken up mankind to global conscience through religious unity for universal friendship in justice and liberty.  But the colonial government of Egypt was frightened of his proposed brotherhood and made life difficult for him.  In 1916 he was expelled from Egypt.  He landed in Barcelona (Spain) in extreme poverty and died on 1st October 1917.

Ivan Aguéli's artistic production may be described, like it was done by Margarethe Rossholm in the Norwegian newspaper "Dagens Nyheter": 

Aguéli's paintings, most of them not bigger than normal pages in a book, are images of something metaphysical which is visualized by aid of landscape, house and humans.  With an outspoken faith in metaphysical truths, he seeks absolutely unlimited to visualize Beauty, Unity, Harmony, Light, and Eternity, these aspects being divine to the artist.  They cannot be experienced through a personal incarnation like Christ, neither through conventional signs like a triangle, a circle, a cross, or a rose.  ... His religious experiences seem to have come from the tradition of mysticism; he was not trying to reveal the divine behind reality, but in what is conceivable to our senses in the real world.  His paintings are an attempt to visualize what he saw on his journeys to the metaphysical world. (Modified and translated from Norwegian by the webmaster). 

The Aguéli-paintings shown on this page were issued by Post Sweden in June 1969, in commemoration of his birth centenary. 

Sources and links: 

Other Symbolist artists on this site:

Back to Symbolism


Navigation (in separate window)

Homepage Art History on Stamps

Search Google

Revised 24-jul-2006. Ann Mette Heindorff
Copyright © 1999-2007. All Rights Reserved

Homepage Heindorffhus