Friday, July 11, 2014

Theodor Kittelsen

Christmas Troll
other detail unknown

Theodor Severin Kittelsen (1857-1914) was an Norwegian artist who had become well-known for his nature paintings and illustrations of fairytales and legends, especially of trolls. His art was dominated by his strong love of nature and was influenced by the Norwegian fairy tales tradition and blended by Naturalism, Mysticism and Art Nouveau. He is one of the most popular artists in Norway and the “father” of all Trolls.

He was born in a coastal town in Telemark county, Norway. His father died at an early age, leaving a wife and eight children in difficult circumstances. He was only 11 years old when he was apprenticed to a watchmaker. When at the age of 17 his talent was discovered, and he became a pupil at a drawing school in Oslo. He had to earn his money as a draftsman for German newspapers and magazines. In 1882 he was granted a state scholarship to study in Paris. In 1887 he returned to Norway for good. When back in Norway, he found nature to be a great inspiration. He created the most beautiful and thrilling paintings of Norwegian nature at its most scenic and impressive, as well as illustrations for children´s books and even illustrating scenes from the Bible. He also wrote the texts to many of the books he illustrated. In 1908 he was made Knight of the The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav.

Though he was loved by the Norwegian people, art critiques and publishers failed to thoroughly appreciate his work. He died famous but utterly poor, and it was only after his death he was awarded an artist´s salary by the state, the money being paid out to his widow and their 9 children. He is relatively unknown outside of his country. His favorite tools were pencils and ink, he varied the pressure and created thinner and thicker lines.