Carl Larsson


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(1853–1919) and and


A prolific Swedish book illustrator, printmaker, and painter, Carl Larsson's visual imagery did much to establish a widespread idea of a Swedish domestic design and lifestyle, notions that were, almost a century later, marketed by IKEA and recreated photographically in its catalogues. Of particular significance were his widely disseminated images of his own idyllic family life in the picturesque village of Sundborn where he lived with his wife Karin, also an artist, and eight children. In fact these portrayals of an idyllic Swedish lifestyle proved sufficiently attractive to Larsson's contemporaries for them to visit the village as tourists, although not in the numbers of the early 21st century when about 60,000 visitors a year were attracted to the Larsson house. Carl studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm from 1866 to 1876, commencing a prolific career as a book illustrator in 1875. Karen also studied at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1877 to 1882, marrying Carl in 1883. After a brief period in Paris the Larssons returned to Sweden in 1885, Carl taking up an art teaching post in Gothenburg. In 1888 the Larssons were given the cottage Lilla Hyttnäs in Sundborn by Karin's father. Karen spent a great deal of time homemaking, designing furniture, weaving colourful textiles, working on embroideries that drew on folk traditions and natural forms, as well as making clothes for her and her children. After the death of their parents the surviving children established the Carl and Karin Larsson Family Association in order to preserve their parents' home just as it was. As such it has become a significant heritage site, representing an essentially Swedish way of life.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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