Ivan Aguéli began to draw and paint at an early age while growing up on Gotland. He traveled to Paris for the first time in 1890 to pursue artistic endeavors. In addition to art, he came into contact with communists, anarchists and theosophists. He also studied Asian languages and later converted to Islam. His wandering lifestyle included periods when he lived in Egypt and India before returning to Sweden. Aguéli ultimately settled in Spain, where he died in an accident in 1917.
Aguéli’s paintings were innovative in the early twentieth century; his portraits and landscapes were characterized by a play of light and color tones beyond the ordinary. His paintings appear to be monumental in their small format. Aguéli’s work is currently represented in most Swedish museums and is sought after by private collectors.