Kjarval painted portraits, either on his own initiative, often to honour his friends, or at the behest of individuals or organisations. In the late 1950s his portraits became less conventional and more expressive than before. In 1959 he painted three portraits of Swedish scholar Ivar Modéer, professor of Nordic studies at Uppsala University, who was a great admirer of Kjarval and his work. The portrait reflects the notion that a portrait should not resemble a photograph and least of all present an enhanced image of the subject, but that it is important that the piece reflect the personal characteristics of the individual – and not too seriously. It is painted in oils on sheets of paper which are glued to a canvas; Kjarval also painted a strip of gold on part of the canvas, around the edge of the paper. The piece is unconventional and expressive in every way, so much so in fact that it verges on caricature.