Wiliam Skotte Olsen

Kunstner Wiliam Skotte Olsen

b. Copenhagen, Denmark 1945
Christiania, Denmark 2005

Art biography

Wiliam Skotte Olsen was born in 1945 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was born into a family that was strongly affiliated with the Salvation Army. He played the violin on the street with his family, to raise money for the poor. He started painting early and signed up for a drawing course at the Glyptoteket, and in 1964 Holbæk Art Academy, where he prepared for the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

He was admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1965, but it did not really catch him, and he rarely attended classes. Unfortunately, he never completed his academic education. He was in fact more interesting in the new and growing hippie movement, and the drugs that emerged in the wake of this.

After a long trip to Afghanistan, India and Nepal in 1971, he had difficulty finding a foothold in Denmark. Due to death on the trip, heartache and severe depression. Wiliam Skotte Olsen was a very sensitive person.

He was often under the influence of hard drugs - so much so that the drugs affected his reality and state of mind. In 1974, he suffered from a mental illness and explained about hidden microphones, flying saucers and Russian atomic bombs.

In the summer of 1975, he was sure that Amager was being invaded by alien creatures. One late summer night, he set fire to a tent set up on a lawn near where his parents lived. Inside the tent lay three children sleeping. Their parents discovered the fire from their bedroom and threw themselves out to save the children, as survivors, but not without severe burns.

He was subsequently placed in Herstedvester Prison, and then the Psychiatric Center Sct. His. Here he remained until 1978. When he came out into freedom, his life was totally changed. He fit poorly into a society where flower-power and hippie times were irrevocably over.

In the early 1980s, he lived in a condemned property in Odinsgade, where he had arranged himself in the attic under the rafters. Here he painted a series of small captivating pictures on pieces of cardboard that he had found on his wayj. He lived for the last 20 years at Christiania, where he lived in very changing and difficult conditions. He lived in his last days in a shack at Christiania and fought a fierce battle against his inner demons.

In the autumn of 2004, he was admitted to Amager Hospital very weak. It turned out that he was ill with cancer and on February 10, 2005, he died.

Wiliam Skotte Olsen is represented at the Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK), the Royal Copper Collection, Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Trapholt, Vendsyssel Kunstmuseum, HEART Herning Museum, Roskilde Museum and Danmarks Nationalmuseum.


1965 - 1969
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, DK

Holbæk Art Academy, DK

Museum Exhibitions

Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK), Copenhagen, DK

North Jutland Art Museum, Aalborg, DK

The Royal Copperplate Collection, Copenhagen, DK

Trapholt, Kolding, DK

Vendsyssel Art Museum, Hjørring, DK

HEART Herning Museum, Herning, DK

Roskilde Museum, Roskilde, DK

National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, DK

Kunstner Wiliam Skotte Olsen
Kunstner Wiliam Skotte Olsen
Kunstner Wiliam Skotte Olsen
Kunstner Wiliam Skotte Olsen