Thursday 1 September 2011

Carl Larsson - Swedish Painter

When I wrote about my roots in Derbyshire, I mentioned that Wright of Derby and his painting of the Orrery had been a great influence on me as a young girl.  The other painter that I really loved was Carl Larsson.
I had a print of this painting in my bedroom, and used to imagine what it would be like to live in such a beautiful room. I decided that when I grew up I would have a home just like it. 
I loved the Gustavian furniture, the pots of plants wandering along the windowsill, the wooden floor scattered with rugs, and the window open to the views beyond without the need for curtains.
Flowers on the windowsill
Many of his paintings are actually based on the house he lived in with his wife Karin, and their 8 children.  Karin and the children were Carl's favourite models. The home is still owned by their descendants  and they keep it open for visitors each summer. It is situated in the picturesque village of Sundborn approximately 230 km from Stockholm. 
For me his paintings convey such a strong sense and atmosphere of Sweden and Scandinavian countries in general. This is particularly true with regard to the quality of light in his paintings, his gift for portraying interior design and the lively family life depicted in his watercolours.
Lisbeth Fishing
Apple Harvest
Breakfast under the big birch
Christmas Eve Banquet


  1. The name in the title sounded familiar and then I saw the beautiful first painting and was reminded of my teens too. I'm not sure whether I had a postcard of it, or maybe it was my best friend, Amanda who had it, but it is dreamily lovely. Thank you for stirring the memories!

  2. Hello Rosemary:
    As you write and show here, there is something very atmospheric about Carl Larsson's work and we too love the quality of light and the calm of the domestic interiors which are, on examination, full of absorbing detail.

    And is your own house similar, as you once wished?

  3. Dear Alix - It is interesting how you can suddenly be transported back to a period in time by an image or object. Pleased that you enjoyed having your memories stirred!

  4. hallo!
    i am so glad to have foud your blog! his painting are very scandinavian inspired of course. every day life is still a bit like this here you know ; )

  5. Dear Demie - Thank you for your comment. So nice to have someone from Norway which we visit every year, and love. I agree that his paintings do reflect the scandinavian way of life.

  6. Dear Jane and Lance - Alas, I do not have the Carl Larsson look, but I do have a strong interest in interior design. I think that the interiors we create are mostly influenced by our surroundings and also the light where we live. My son, who lives in Norway, has a very Scandinavian interior - lots of light wood, which I love, but it would not look right here!

  7. Hello, Rosemary - I am a great lover of Carl Larsson's work. As you say, he was a master of light, and also of line. I particulalry enjoy the drawings and paintings of his family at Christmas. One has only to look at Larsson's work to know that his family and homelife were cherished.

  8. These are beautiful: the quality of light is striking. I've never been to the Scandanavian countries but imagine I might recognise the light when I arrived. I'd love to see these in an exhibition: thanks for this post.

  9. Hello Mark - you are correct, his families happiness and obvious contentment shine out from the paintings.

  10. Dear Kate - I would love to see them in an exhibition too. The last major exhibition in the UK was at the V & A in 1997, but sadly I missed it.

  11. I found this artist at Ikea, on postcards and biscuit tins ;~)

    Where would be the best place to see his paintings? Is there a gallery dedicated to his work?

  12. Dear Diana - as you will have gathered Carl Larsson is Swedish. His work is in the Thiel Gallery, Stockholm, the Gothenburg Art Museum, and also at Carl Larsson's own House, which can be visited. That means a visit to Sweden. I know his work came to London 14 years ago but I missed it. Ikea is Swedish owned so that presumably is why they use his work.

  13. I also love Carl Larsson. I hope to see the Bieler exhibit in Bern at the Kunstmuseum, maybe this Friday...Bieler reminds me a little bit of Karl Larsson, with his paintings of peasants of the Valais in the 19th century, sometimes in watercolor with delicate black outlines. Beth

  14. Dear Beth - how wonderful to be able to see Ernest Bieler's work in Bern. Yes, I agree with you, there is a similarity in their paintings. Perhaps you could do a post on him?

  15. I love Carl Larsson paintings! As my mother is swedish I know them since I was a child. Really beautiful...

    1. Dear Magdalena - I too have known Carl Larsson's paintings since I was a child. They have a magical quality and warmth about them. He obviously loved his family very much.


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