In a few days I will once again visit my native country; Sweden and what better to do in the build up for my trip than to look at some Swedish art?
One of my personal favorites is Carl Larsson, born in 1853 in the capitals’ ‘gamla stan’ (old town) Stockholm. His parents were poor and his childhood very unhappy. When Carl and his brother Johan were still very little they were, together with their mother, thrown out and had to resort to some very poor living conditions. In his writings later on he described the conditions as;
“penury, filth and vice thrived there, leisurely seethed and smouldered, eaten-away and rotten bodies and souls. Such an environment is the natural breeding ground for cholera“
Larsson managed to break free from his miserable ties and was encouraged to study art. After several years working on illustrations for newspapers, books and magazines in 1877 he moved to Paris. Once on the French art scene he was not eager to establish contact with the popular movement of the Impressionist and instead stayed with other Swedish artists, although there are traces of impressionist influence in his work, or more precisely post-impressionist.
In 1882 he settled down at a Scandinavian artists’ colony in Grez-sur-Loing where he met his future wife; a fellow painter Karin Bergoo. Karins’ own work did not receive as much attention as Carl (quelle suprise!), as a mother with a large household she channeled most of her artistic attention into design. It was at this time that Carl saw a turning-point in his work and he went on to become one of Sweden’s most loved and recognized artists.
Not to break the cliche of the struggling artist Larsson became manic depressive in his later years and died in 1919.
For more pieces about Larsson and other Swedish artists and art stay tuned. I’m sure the motherland shall inspire me!