postcard from sweden: c stands for carl larsson


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C stands for Carl Larsson – who’s art  is touched by so many hearts 

“The fate of  “Midvinterblot” broke me!
This I admit with subdued rage. “
Carl Larsson

Carl_Larsson_selfportrait_1891 - wikimedia org -

Carl Larsson (1853 –1919) was a Swedish painter representative of the Arts and Crafts Movement. His many paintings include oils, watercolors, and frescoes. He considered his finest work to be Midvinterblot (Midwinter Sacrifice), a large wall mural now displayed inside the Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts.

The story tells that at one time Carl Larsson’s mother was thrown out the home by his father and together with Carl and his younger brother.
Carl’s father worked as a casual laborer, sailed as a stoker on a ship headed for Scandinavia, and lost the lease to a nearby mill, only to end up there later as a mere grain carrier. Larsson portrays him as a loveless man lacking self-control; he drank, ranted and raved, and incurred the lifelong anger of his son through his outburst, “I curse the day you were born”.
His mother was on the other hand working hard as a laundress to provide for the family.

Carl’s artistic talent was probably inherited from his grandfather on his mother’s side, who was a painter by trade.

After several years working as an illustrator of books, magazines, and newspapers, Larsson moved to Paris in 1877, where he spent several frustrating years as a hardworking artist without any success. Larsson was not eager to establish contact with the French progressive Impressionists; instead, along with other Swedish artists, he cut himself off from the radical movement of change.

He settled down with his Swedish painter colleagues in 1882 in Grez-sur-Loing, at a Scandinavian artists’ colony outside Paris. It was there that he met the artist Karin Bergöö, who soon became his wife. This was to be a turning point in Larsson’s life. In Grez, Larsson painted some of his most important works, now in watercolor and very different from the oil painting technique he had previously employed.

carl & karin - polarbearstale.blogspot com

In 1888 the young family was given a small house, named Little Hyttnäs, in Sundborn by Karin’s father. Carl and Karin decorated and furnished this house according to their particular artistic taste and also for the needs of the growing family.

Sundborn - clg se

Carl and Karin had eight children; 4 girls and 4 boys, but 2 of the boys died, Ulf at the age of 18 and Mats, 2 months. His family and home  with it’s surroundings became Carl’s favorite models and motives. Many of his watercolors are now popular all over the world. Many of the interiors depicted was a work of Karin Larsson who also worked as an interior designer.

Gustav Vasas intŒg i Stockholm 1523

Carl painted “Gustav Vasas intåg i Stockholm 1523” (Gustav Vasa enters Stockholm 1523) for the hall in Nationalmuseum in Stockholm It was completed in 1908. The painting depicts Gustav Vasa of Sweden as he is about to enter Stockholm in 1523 to be king. Gustav Vasa became our first real king.
Larsson started planning for the painting in 1897, but was not allowed to start work until 1906. The canvasses were largely completed by 1907, and were put up on the walls on Nationalmuseum, 1908. Carl had to do some adjustments to the painting before being approved; the horse’s left leg and he had to remove the crown from the King’s head.

Some of his most popular paintings is the portrait paintings of our famous authors, Selma Lagerlöf in 1908 and August Strindberg, his good friend, in 1899.

In his memoirs ‘Jag’ (I)-published after Carl Larssons dead – he declared his bitterness and disappointment with this reverse against the painting he himself considered to be the crown on his work as an artist. In his memoirs ‘Jag’ Carl Larsson wrote:  “that with all its weakness, this painting will once be honored with far better placement after my death.”

And we can only conclude that history proved him right in the end. Following its sale to a Japanese buyer, “Midvinterblot ” was returned to the National Museum for the Carl Larsson-exhibition in 1992. With help from generous private donators the National Museum repurchased the work from its Japanese owner in 1997. Now, at last, it hangs where it was intended to be and Carl can rest easy in the knowledge that “Midvinterblot” has finally found its way home.

And anyone else for that matter! Carl Larsson himself thought that Sundborn resembled a French village and after a visit here it is easy to understand why the Larssons rarely left their beloved Sundborn.

Today Sundborn is a museum for the whole family to enjoy, open from January to September, all details on this link: Meet Carl Larsson

The most expensive painting of Carl’s work – expect for the “Midvinterbolt” – is Lisbet by the birk trunk, it was sold for 7 million at Bukowski in 2007.

Lisbeth by the birch trunk - yandex ru

Carl Larson dided in Falun 1819, shorly after his “Midvinterblot” as rejected by the museum.

Wherever I lived aboard have I always met someone that loves Carl Larsson and as you know from my header images, my 4 seasons – spring, autumn and winter is Carl Larssson’s.

“How humbling painting is!”
Suzanne Kelley Clark

I got help with information and text from, and

Midvinterblot - wikipedia org

“En Sommarafton” (“A Summer Evening” or as its also is called in English “Over the woods, the lake”) by Adolf Fredrik Lindblad (1801 – 1878) was a Swedish composer from the Romantic era.

Lindblad, Adolf Fredrik - swipnet se

He is mostly known for his compositions of Swedish song or lieder, in which he produced over 200. His other well known compositions include his Symphony No. 1 in C major, Symphony No. 2 in D major, and an opera titled, Frondörerna (The Rebels). This song was composed in 1863.

Images provided by and thanks to, without your images this post wouldn’t be possible:
Gallery 1;
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33 thoughts on “postcard from sweden: c stands for carl larsson

    • No, I doing it in my own challenge in my own pace …. not every day. I started before the 1th April – that is why C was posted tonight. No post every day. Had a good day – so I posted a couple of posts.
      Time for bed now.

  1. Until I saw and smiled I had not quite realized your heading was one of Carl Larsson’s: it IS beautiful!! Have known of his works methinks all of my life, but never had such a composite for which I do thank you!! Love the Selma Lagerlöf portrait . . . methinks she was one of the first authors I ‘met’ in my childhood . . .

    • Selma Lagerlöf – she is of course the biggest author for us Swedes, because she was the one that did our first proper study books in school. She worked as a teacher here in Landskrona.
      Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige – Nils Holgerson’s fantastic adventure – the most wonderful book, not only for childern – did a post about it last year. – if you’re intrested.

  2. I wasn’t familiar with him, but I like his style. I’ve always been drawn to artwork from this time period. Thanks for the art history lesson.

  3. The girl with the red hat, Vivi! Gorgeous 🙂 And SO much beautiful work. I like that interior shot too. Difficult lives produce great artists? But 8 children!

    • Yes, like on Ireland we had big families over here in those days – my grandma came from a family with 13 kids.
      CL art is so beautiful and I think that because his childhood was so difficult – he cherished his family so much and he worked from their home and he found his inspiration from his family and the nature around them. A very humble artist in his beautiful art.

  4. I love the art. It seems he did not take after his father, and paints a beautiful family life. I’m glad he found that. I did notice he was your painter for your blog. 🙂 I truly enjoyed this Viveka. There is a joyfulness I see in the works that include child and parent (I assume parent). Lovely!

    • Yes, he found his motives in his home, family, friends and the surroundings where he lived. His everyday life. It’s such a heart touching art and it makes me feel good. Of course the reason why I chosen his art for my header. You would love to visit his home, but it’s quite a way from where I live.

  5. It’s in reality a nice and useful piece of information.
    I’m satisfied that you just shared this useful info with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Pingback: An Artist A Week: Amrita Sher-Gil | Le Blog

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