When Västerport School (formerly Västervång School) opened in 1960, the sculpture Schoolgirls was donated to the town of Ystad by E Nyströms Byggnads AB, the company that was the main contractor in the building of the school. On a granite plinth stand two happy schoolgirls cast in bronze. They seem to be on their way somewhere with a spring in their step, perhaps to an end-of-term ceremony? They wear fine dresses, the summer wind is shown in the flow of the fabric, and one of the girls is carrying a bouquet. There is a sculpture in Jönköping that is almost identical to the one in Ystad, but has the title Smålandsflickor (Småland Girls).
Thorwald Alef grew up in Jönköping and studied at Althin’s School of Painting 1917-18 and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm 1919-22. He started out as a painter and is considered to be one of Sweden’s earliest modernists. In later years, he turned to sculpture. Many of his works express the theme of youth, light and air. Thorwald Alef is also known for his cooperation with Estrid Eriksson at the interior design company, Svenskt Tenn.
Another of his works – Sol (Sun) – can be seen in Ystad, in Bollhusparken.