The Swedish Artist Carl Larsson

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Carl Larsson is Sweden’s most recognized artist who depicted his idyllic life, with wife Karin and their children, in exquisite delicate watercolor paintings.

Born in Stockholm in 1853, he grew up in less than idyllic surroundings, being left by his father for his mother to rear. She worked diligently as a laundress, but earned very little. They lived in squalled conditions and he learned to work very hard as well.

At thirteen he was urged by his school teacher to apply for entry to the Stockholm Academy for Fine Arts. He was accepted, but it took some time for him to acclimate to the new, more refined surroundings.

He continued through school, became an illustrator and later moved to Paris to become an artist. He started painting in oils, but in 1882 having moved to Grez, (a Scandinavian artists’ colony) he transitioned to watercolors, which he mastered in six short months.

This is where he met Karin Bergoo and they soon married in 1883. Five years later Karin’s father gave the couple the house Lilla Hyttnas at Sanborn. This was to be the setting for many of Larsson’s paintings, capturing his life as it unfolded with his wife and their many children.

There were two major influences, whether knowingly or not, that shaped the creativity that took place within the walls of the Larsson home.

In 1891 a major exhibition of the Gustavian Style was compiled, this was in response to the look becoming popular once again in Sweden. This happened to be within the same time frame that the drawing room at Sanborn was redecorated in the fashion it still is today. The Gustavian tenets of light, refinement and unpretentious elegance are evident.

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