Sweden • 1853−1919
Carl Olof Larsson (the Swede. Carl Olof Larsson; May 28, 1853, Stockholm — January 22, 1919, Sundborn) is a Swedish artist, famous for the cheerful watercolor paintings depicting the life of his family.

Features of the artist Carl Larsson: started with oil paintings, painted murals, but in the end chose watercolor; indifferent to the many currents of modernism; books with watercolor drawings Larsson have become bestsellers.

Famous paintings of Carl Larsson: "Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve"), "Breakfast under the birch", "Sacrifice in the middle of winter".

You have IKEA furniture? Well, at least a couple of cups? Scandinavian style today appreciated all over the world, it is relevant for holders of different wallet and taste. Did you know that the person from whose light hand Scandinavian style conquered the world, lived not so long ago? And not so long ago have created this very style. However, let us formulate a less categorical: Karl Larsson, artist-watercolour artist from Sweden and his wife are considered as one of the founders of the Scandinavian style.

From "hell on Earth" in "Home under the sun"

We all come from childhood – this phrase is so beaten, that seems to have lost its meaning. And in General, well those who have had a normal happy childhood hearth in the fireplace is not painted, but the warmth and support – are real. But if this did not happen? The life of Carl Larsson gives hope to those whose childhood was not like this. "Home under the sun" or "House of the sun" was the title of an autobiography of the artist, released 12 years after his death.

Illuminated by the sunshine house, children's laughter, the smell of pie, talking the whole family for tea – it is so well portrayed. This never happened in the childhood of Carl Larsson. It was something else: fear and hunger, what he called, Recalling his first childhood experience. The family lived in the slums for the poor. Neighbors were prostitutes and thieves, in the same room might dwell for three families. Mother spent her days washing someone else's underwear to earn a piece of bread, his father was a laborer and as in the environment routine, not shunned alcohol. Got drunk, took my anger out on his wife and two sons did, and they beat him up. Carl was afraid of everything: afraid of whipping, they were afraid of hunger, afraid to upset parents. "I curse the day you were born!" the drunken cries of the father he remembered for a long time. His younger brother, Johann, died in childhood. The eldest, Charles, is plunged into a protracted depression. And in adulthood, creating your own house, filling it with everything that didn't get his own childhood, the artist Carl Larsson was left vulnerable and touchy. But his main drugs – love and watercolor – was at hand.

What he thought and wanted, where you wanted to escape from hopeless poverty and grave situation of the house, which he called "hell on Earth"? We will learn about it when you look at his watercolors. Thanks to them, Carl Larsson's proclaimed "founder of the Scandinavian style." And they show that the comfort of home, a happy home, when home joy, the family is the most expensive in the world, however, you just good, but everyday things filled with light and warmth, because in this house under the sun love each other is possible.

Larsson at the Academy of fine arts

The first person, revealing little Carl to the door to another world, was his high school art teacher, a Jacobson. He saw the boy's talent, was able to convey to parents the need to develop it and helped Carl to get a place on the preparatory course at the Royal Academy of arts in Stockholm. Larsson at the time was 13 years old. He had to work to pay for tuition and earn a living. He worked as a Retoucher at the photographer, caricaturist and Illustrator for Newspapers. The Academy initially had very difficult: due to the impenetrable of the poverty in which he lived, Larsson looked and was the most downtrodden and shy. But still ourselves, and not in the role of outcast at the end of the study and classmates, and the teachers appreciated his exceptional talent, at some point he even became the leader of the course. Academy he graduated with the Royal medal.

Life and love to Karin

About the wife of Carl Larsson, the artist Karin Bergoknow many. She is born to their marriage eight children were the characters happy at home, looking at the images of which I remember what is important in life – not the next quarterly report. But there was another story in the life of Larsson. Wilhelmina Holmgrenalso an artist and a student of the Academy, the first civil wife of Carl Larsson. They met in 1873, the artist was 20 years old, Wilhelmina– age. Friends said that Wilhelmina became the first man who unequivocally believed in Larsson, it has strengthened his faith in himself, compelled him what he could do, supported in all your endeavors.

They had a son, and in 1877 Wilhelmina died in second childbirth, without seeing the daughter. Carl was very upset by her death and even slept on her grave. Children, too, was not destined to stay long in this world, they died one after another, almost behind her mother.

In search of its way

Larsson went to Paris. By the time three years ago aptly thrown the word "impressionism" became the title of the directionwho changed everything in painting, and Paris was his birthplace. But Larsson is not particularly interested. However, we cannot say that he did not notice that the world is impressionism (1, 2), but this direction was not the leading. He not joined the French Bohemians, along with other Swedish artists settled in many ways, a small town near Paris. He communicated mainly with the Swedish Diaspora, illustrated books countrymen. In the 26 years of Carl Larsson met Karin Bergo. This coincided with a turn in the works – he abandoned oils and create a pretentious academic papers and turned to watercolor. Four more years had to wait until Larsson was on his feet so hard that he could support his family. Carl and Karin were married in Sweden in 1883.

A few years after the wedding Larsson travelled between Sweden and France, was one of the founders of the Association of Swedish artists "Opponents". He acquired some fame, especially as an Illustrator. His work was awarded at the Paris Salon of 1883. Larsson also taught at the Art school in Gothenburg. The trip to Italy allowed us to learn the techniques of Italian frescoes that then he is very useful – in Sweden it is painted wallpublic buildings.

Painted connected and one of his greatest creative frustration. A lot of effort at the end of his life he has invested in preparation of the frescoes "Sacrifice in the middle of winter"for the National Museum in Stockholm. He was sure that his "real" work is paintings and frescoes. But the Museum Commission rejected the work of Carl Larsson. Don't know how this would have comforted the artist, but the Museum has repented of his decision. The mural was purchased from Japan, and only in 1992 the national Museum of Stockholm bought the work of Larsson and returned the mural to the place for which it was created. By the way, this has happened only thanks to the generous contributions of private individuals.

The home and its residents

To display "Home under the sun" was just a house. Karin, unlike Karl, was descended from a wealthy family. Her parents in 1888 gave the young house in the vicinity Sundborn. It was called "Willfulness" (LillaHyttnäs - a Small hut). The boy, who was hiding from a drunken father and rowdy neighbors, who had in her childhood the area of safety, love and support, got what I dreamed of. And thus became the hope and promise for all who have a child, too, it was not. Just look at the watercolors of Carl Larsson.

Larsanov have had eight children: Suzanne, Ulf, Pontus, Lisbeth, BRITA, Matt, Kirsty, Esbern. Karin has dedicated himself to the family, raise children, lovingly settled way of life, weaving became famous napkins, tablecloths and tapestries. And Carl told me, or rather, drew the answer to the question "what is happiness". He seemed to replace watercolors photography. The artist recorded the routine of normal happy life happy family happy here kids Christmas gifts, here Karin walks with her daughter, now the children eat Breakfast, here he is at the easel, and a warm sleepy baby, a ball of living joy. Children walk, draw, sleep and Wake up, go skiing, help around the house, grow, and Larsson them selflessly draws.

Art family journal, sort of a watercolor Instagram – from the point of view of posterity.
One after the other come albums with watercolors of Carl Larsson, depicting the life of his family. The album, named "Home under the sun", beats all records of popularity, first in Sweden and then all over the world. The house is gradually changing, Larsson finish him permanently alter (later IKEA to create furniture that is easy to assemble, easy to equip and to build, easy to disassemble). Today it is difficult to understand that unusual in an atmosphere of "Home under the sun." Indeed, with a light hand Larsanov Scandinavian style firmly established in the interiors of Scandinavian houses. Meanwhile, it was not always the case. At the end of last century standard setting in the Swedish house was heavy, dark massive furniture, designed to create a feeling of grandeur. And suddenly, simple chairs, white furniture, light, line, minimalism, from which blows cold, but which creates coziness. Light colors, plenty of space, sunlight. The simplicity that is akin to joy.

The Swedes take his albums as a benchmark and begin to equip their home. And it's clear that despite the objective advantages of such a style that attracts them in the first place is not the interior, and its content. It seems that the house is born happy family, warmth, care and support. "Pictures of my family and home were the most immediate and lasting part of my life's work. For these paintings is typical of course a very genuine expression of my personality, of my deepest feelings, of all my limitless love for my wife and kids"to the author and have nothing to add.

Today in the town of Sundborn you can come to the house-Museum of Karl and Karin Larssons, around mats, touch to the shelves, to feel the spirit of a happy home, a happy family. And if there was a working, functioning mascots, wishing to find happiness and warmth in our own house, we would probably recommend to go to Larsson.

Author: Alain Esaulova
Go to biography


View all publications


All exhibitions of the artist
View all artist's artworks
Whole feed