top of page

Carl Milles (1875 – 1955)

Carl Milles (1875 – 1955)

Born Carl Wilhelm Andersson, son of lieutenant Emil "Mille" Andersson, Carl Milles was arguably Sweden’s most prominent sculptor in the 20th century. His father’s nickname “Mille” inspired Carl and his siblings to adopt Milles as their family name when they became adults. 

During the first half of the 20th century, Milles dominated the Swedish art world. 

Milles’ sources of inspiration ranged from Ancient Greek to Roman and Christian mythology as well as Swedish history. He sculpted in heavy, hard materials such as granite and bronze and paired the sculptures with the lightest of materials, water and air, by placing them in fountains and raising them up to interact with the sky. His greatest creation was Millesgården, his life's achievement that he worked on for 50 years.Best known for his fountains, Milles studied art in Paris, working in Auguste Rodin's studio and slowly gaining recognition as a sculptor. Married to artist Olga Milles, he sculpted the Poseidon statue in Gothenburg, the Gustaf Vasa statue at the Nordiska museet, the Orfeus group outside the Stockholm Concert Hall and the Folke Filbyter sculpture in Linköping.

Throughout the 1930s Milles worked at Cranbrook Academy of Art near Detroit and by the time he left America for the last time he had dotted the American landscape with his works.

In 1951, the couple returned to Sweden, buying property on Herserud Cliff on Lidingö, a large island near Stockholm. Millesgarden was built there between 1906 and 1908 as the sculptor's private residence and workspace. It was turned into a foundation and donated to the Swedish people in 1936, five years after Milles had sailed for America and the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills. Millesgården became his last home and is now a museum. Carl and his wife, Olga are buried in a small stone chapel, designed by Milles, at Millesgården. Because Swedish law requires burial on sacred ground, it took the assistance of the then reigning Gustaf VI Adolf to allow this resting place. The king, a friend of Milles's and a keen gardener, had helped plant a garden at the site.

Commissioned in 1936 and unveiled in May 1940, Milles' enormous fountain The Wedding (or Marriage) of the Waters in St. Louis symbolizes the converging of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. 

The Carl Milles Marriage of the Waters Collection is a celebration of David Oscarson’s wedding anniversary to his wife Veronica (who provided all of the line art for the Milles collection), the 20th anniversary of their company and a direct connection from their home in St. Louis to Milles’ home in Stockholm where the Oskarsson family originally lived and where Oscarson spent most of his youth. 

Unique to the Milles collection is the merging of two colors of hot enamel, which usually requires an outlined border of silver as different colors require different temperatures of kiln-firing. Also unique to this collection is the meandering current of the double-lined diamond-cut guilloche pattern underneath the enamel that captures the essence of merging waters, much like the Mississippi and Missouri where they meet in St. Louis.

Atop the cap of the Milles pen in translucent white enamel is the symbol of the St. Louis city flag, depicting the merging of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. At the bottom of the barrel is the symbol of Stockholm’s city flag, connecting the two great cities as Milles did with the Marriage of the Waters fountain. Milles’ signature is engraved on the gripping section of each Collection piece.

The Carl Milles Collection thirty-second in the David Oscarson™ series of Limited Edition writing instruments and will be produced in four primary design variations; each limited to production of 80 pieces (including fountain pens and roller balls), representing the 80 legendary years of Carl Milles’ innovative and creative life. 

The Marriage of the Waters collection will be produced in the following color variations:

Translucent Sapphire, Teal, Black and White Hard Enamel with Gold Vermeil

Translucent Sapphire, Azure Blue, Black and White Hard Enamel with Gold Vermeil

Translucent Grey, Black and White Hard Enamel 

Translucent Azure Blue, Black and White Hard Enamel

bottom of page