Self portrait, 1895

Carl Larsson (May 28, 1853–January 22, 1919) was a Swedish painter and interior designer. He is perhaps the best known Swedish artist of the latter half of the 19th century.


Breakfast under the big birch

Larsson was born in Gamla stan, Stockholm to poor parents. His father was a laborer, and Larsson portrayed him in his autobiography as loveless and abusive. His mother supported him with the money she earned as a laundress. His childhood was difficult as a result, but he developed an interest in art nonetheless.

By the time he was 13, his teacher convinced him to apply for the principskola, the preparatory art department at Royal Art Academy. His first years there were difficult. He had trouble adapting socially, but by his third year, he was promoted to the "antique school." While there he earned the first medal in nude drawing. He worked at the same time as a caricaturist for the humor newspaper Kasper and as graphic artist for the newspaper Ny Illustrerad Tidning, earning enough money to help his parents.


Christmas Eve

In 1877, Larsson moved to Paris to work as an artist. He isolated himself from the French impressionists and in 1882 moved to a Scandinavian artist colony outside Paris called Grez-sur-Loing. There, he met his wife-to-be Karin Bergöö. Together, they had eight children, who would become his main subjects.


A studio idyll. The artist's wife with daughter Suzanne

In 1888, Bergöö's father gave the family a small house, called Little Hyttnäs, in Sundborn. The house, decorated according to the couple's artistic tastes, is now one of the most famous artist's homes in the world. It even had an impact on Swedish interior design.

Color print technology made Larsson's work all the more popular in the 1890s.

Larsson completed frescos at schools, museums, and other buildings and he considered those to be his most important works.

In 1915, he completed a painting commissioned by the National Museum in Stockholm, called Midvinterblot, but it was rejected by the board of the museum. He later expressed bitterness over this.



Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Read 3852 times