Carl Larsson Biography | Oil Paintings
5-28-1853 Stockholm, SWE - 1-22-1919 Falun, SWEBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Carl Larsson parents were poor, and he had a miserable unhappy childhood. Larsson's father was a casual laborer and a drinking, ranting and raving slouch, and hated Carl, his mother was a washerwoman, working long hours to provide for the family.
Be that as it may, Carl Larsson liked to draw, and at thirteen years old, he got a big break, his teacher at the school for the poor encouraged him to apply to the Principskola of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, and he was accepted. During his first years there, Carl Larsson felt inferior, befuddled, and bashful. In 1869, at the age of sixteen, he was promoted to the "antique school" of the Academy and even won his first medal for a nude drawing. There Larsson gained confidence and even became a focal figure in student life. While he was a student, he had a side job working as a caricaturist and a graphic artist for two papers, earning enough money to help support his parents.
After several years working as an illustrator for books, magazines, and newspapers, Larsson at the age of twenty-four, decided to move Paris in 1877, he spent five frustrating years as a hardworking artist without any success. For two summers he had visited the refuge of the Plein-air painters, Barbizon outside Paris, where there was also a Scandinavian artists' colony, he settled down there with his new Swedish friends in 1882 at Grez-sur-Loing, where he met the artist Karin Bergöö, who became his wife. This was to be a defining moment in his life, Carl Larsson painted some of his most important works, in watercolor and very different from the oil paintings he had done before.
In 1888 they returned to Sweden because Karin's father gave them a small house in Sundborn. In his later years, he suffered from bouts of depression. While working on a large decoration for the vestibule of the National museum, Larsson began experiencing vision problems and a worsening of his frequent migraine headaches.
Carl Larsson's popularity increased with the advent of color reproduction printing in the 1890s when the Swedish publisher Bonnier published a series of books called A Home, written and illustrated by Larsson and containing full-color reproductions of his watercolors.
Carl Larsson's last monumental work, Midwinters Sacrifice (Midvinterblot), a 20 ft × 46 ft oil painting, the concept sketches started in 1911 and painting finished in 1915, four years before his death, was commissioned for a wall in the National Museum in Stockholm, but, upon completion, it was rejected by the board of the museum.
Battles between various schools of Swedish artists caused the "Midvinterblot" controversy to continue for many years. Finally, in 1987 the museum was even offered the painting for free if it was placed where it was to be in the first place, the museum declined the offer, so the painting was sold to a Japanese art collector. Realizing they had lost a national treasure, the museum with the help of private donations bought the painting Ishizuka in 1997 and finally display it in where it was intended to be all along.
Art Movement: Naturalism.
He Traveled To France.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.