Marcia Strykowski

Visiting Carl Larsson

Larsson_-_Self_PortraitCarl Larsson (May 28, 1853 — Jan. 19, 1919) was born very poor in Stockholm, Sweden. Between attending the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts and later meeting his wife, Karin, a fellow artist, his life turned around. In 1888 they received a house from Karin’s father. They completely renovated their new home according to their unique artistic tastes and raised eight children there. Still today, tourists flock to Sundborn to visit this historic site.
Above is one of Carl’s self portraits and below shows Karin and two of their children in her kitchen.LARSSON Till_en_liten_vira_(Carl_Larsson)LARSSON Söndagsvila

cottage frontKarin’s designs throughout their home are shown in many of Carl’s paintings. They created a newly recognized Swedish folk style that replaced the current style of heavy, dark furnishings.
Several summers ago my family and I were able to stay in a secluded oceanfront cottage located on the coast of Maine, and inspired by Carl and Karin Larsson’s home. Vibrant lovely details were throughout the house. We felt like we were in Sweden!cottagekitchen 4lossy-page1-1280px-Carl_Larsson_-_Ett_hem_10_-_1899.tifRoyal Princess SuiteNote the similarities of color and design in the above two pictures of a four-poster bed—one from Carl’s paintings and the other our summer cottage.
Hall area2ship ladder to loftUp the ship ladder to the loft. Look at that ocean view!Loft for a Prince

I’ll end with this gorgeous painting of Little Red Riding Hood, created by Carl in 1881. For another article about Little Red Riding Hood illustrations, please click here. And for a similar post about Monet’s beautiful home in Giverny, here.Larsson_-_Little_Red_Riding_Hood_1881

34 Comments

  1. Your getaway place looks charming! Thanks for sharing the paintings, too. Amazing how they were able to replicate some of the details.

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    • Swedish folk art is so pretty and I love knowing that Carl and Karin had such a big part in the trend.

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  2. What a lovely place to stay at. I would love it!

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    • It was wonderful up until just before we left and a mouse scurried across the bedroom. Needless to say I packed up pretty quick after that.

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      • Donna

        Very interesting piece. Lovely furnishings! Btw.. I would have run for the hills if I saw a mouse, too!

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  3. Gorgeous post – thanks so much, Marcia!

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  4. I adore Carl Larsson’s work, and that getaway cottage looks gorgeous!

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  5. Michele Sova

    I love this! I’ve been to Carl Larsson’s home in Sundborn…my favourite artist! How interesting to see something similarly decorated on this side of the ocean! It must have been a treat to stay there…aside from the mouse…

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    • Oh, Michele, I’m envious. Sweden is on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Ashley

    Another absolutely beautiful post. I love Carl Larson’s paintings and would like to visit Sweden sometime.

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  7. Amy

    I’ve never heard of Carl Larsson so thanks for bringing him to my attention. That cottage is so beautiful.

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    • You’ll have to google him. His paintings are gorgeous. Thanks for commenting, Amy!

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  8. The painting of Karin and two of her children is just beautiful. The light from the oil lamp casts such a warm and inviting feeling. I would love to sit down to eat at that table. The painting of Red Riding Hood is exquisite, how I would love to own that!
    As for the house in Maine – what can I say – I would never want to leave if I was ever lucky enough to stay there.

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    • That’s a great way to describe his work—warm and inviting. I love that Red Riding Hood painting, too. It’s a little different than some of his work. Thanks, Barbara!

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  9. What a fun post Marcia– that house is gorgeous!! I have a friend who’s grandma is from Sweden and they took the whole family (22 of them!) to Sweden to visit family and also saw Carl Larson’s home– so warm and beautiful. And I love the Red Riding Hood illustration! Have you seen the Trina Schart Hyman Red Riding Hood book? Also lovely– She’s my favorite children’s book illustrator.

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    • What an awesome family trip–22 to Sweden! I’m a big fan of Trina Schart Hyman’s work. Her long ago self-portrait book (Addison-Wesley 1981) is one that inspired me to work on my own books for children. There’s a wonderful story in there about how Trina first learned to read while listening to Little Red Riding Hood and how she then ‘became’ Little Red for a good year or so. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rhonda!

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      • OK, I did not even know about the self-portrait book!! I off to track it down! Thanks again Marcia! Love your blog.

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        • I hope it’s still in print. I used to work at A-W and they had a bunch of books they were getting rid of at the time. It was a great series. Thanks, Rhonda!

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  10. Marcia, this is a beautiful story in many avenues. The story, the art, the architecture, and the personal connection are terrific. I will reblog this post. Thank you.

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  11. Reblogged this on A Teacher's Reflections.

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  12. Wow, these are great paintings! I love the one of his family in the kitchen. So warm and inviting!

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  13. That house is beautiful!! Also I had never heard of Carl Larsson, but his work is amazing! Looking through some more of his stuff on google images now! Thanks for introducing him to me 🙂

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  14. Bette Norton

    What a beautiful post! I am not familiar with Carl Larsson, but I love his work! I love the decorating style of his wife Karin too. His paintings capturing his wife and two children and of his home is just beautiful. I love the bright colors and all the folk art decorations! What a wonderful treat to stay in a cottage based on Carl and Karin Larsson’s beautiful home in Sweden.. A fascinating post! 🙂

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  15. I also had never heard of Carl Larsson until I read this post. His work is awesome–and it’s fun to see the Larsson-inspired vacation home where you stayed.

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