My Favorite Artist

Swedish decor is so beautiful. I think it’s unfortunate that most people think of IKEA when they think of Swedish homes, instead of graceful and classic Gustavian furniture.

My mother’s family is Swedish. We grew up celebrating St. Lucia Day, enjoying all sorts of Swedish food and appreciating our heritage.

For as long as I can remember my grandmother has kept this print (below) in her bedroom of Carl Larsson’s watercolor called “Lisbeth and the Yellow Tulip.” I have always loved it. The combination of hard and soft lines, bright and pastel colors. I loved that it was like a snapshot into this artists’ life and home (his most famous works are images of his own home and family). Most of his models don’t really seem to be posing. He really seems to capture the essence of their life at home.
Carl and his wife, Karin, who was also a trained artist as well as a very talented textile designer, worked together to build one of the most famous artist’s homes in the world, called Sundborn. I am so inspired by the way they decorated and brought art and color into their home. Sundborn is still owned by the Larsson family and is open for tours. We plan to spend a week or so in Sweden when we’ll be in Europe this summer. I would love to dedicate a whole day to Carl Larsson sites.

Posted here are all of my favorites. I’ve already purchased a giclee print of the yellow tulip piece that my grandma has, but I think it would be cool to pick out a few others to make a grouping in a hallway or maybe in the girls’ room.

This site, called Scandinavian Treasures, is very inexpensive and has the most selection. carries high-quality giclee prints of many of Larsson’s works, although they are pricier. I just noticed though, that if you enter in “AGUA” as a discount code at check out, you’ll get an extra 25% off your order at All Posters. The sale ends tonight at midnight.

Here is another of my favorites. I am so drawn into this girl’s face. She is so sad or pensive… or something. And that yellow wall…

What I would give for a piano like this.
Just look at that woodwork. Talk about a linen closet!
I want a yellow fence. So happy.

I love the shelving hung at the top third that is shown in a number of his paintings. Right at eye level, but out of reach for little hands.
Oh that tub! Love the exposed pipes too.
Shelving again. Love the chandelier.
Beautiful built-ins.
The use of color in this home is stunning.
Lovely bedroom

This little girl reminds me of Claire.

Beautiful table and linens. I bet this is one of the pieces Karin Larsson designed. She was so talented and was a complete original.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London did an exhibition of her work in 1997. This is some of the text from the exhibition. She sounds incredible.

“Karin was Carl Larsson’s muse. So thoughtful and quiet, he portrayed her as his idol, forever young. She was, in fact, hard-working, hard headed and highly creative. Carl relied upon her as a critic of his work. She trained as a painter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and Paris. After the birth of Suzanne in 1884 she turned her artistry to decorating the home, especially to weaving and embroidery. She also designed furniture and her own and her children’s clothes. Her most creative period was between 1900 and 1910.
Karin’s textiles were absolutely original. Pre-modern in character they introduced a new abstract style in tapestry. Her bold compositions were executed in vibrant colours; her embroidery frequently used stylised plants. In black and white linen she reinterpreted Japanese motifs. Technically adventurous, she explored folk techniques and experimented with others. A good example of her bold weaving is the tapestry ”The Four Elements” that she composed in 1903 to be hung above the new sofa in the dining room.
At Sundborn the Larssons developed an aesthetic partnership. He was effusive, covering the walls with foliage and flowers, she arranged the living flowers, but in her designs austere and often abstract. The colours of the interior seem to have been jointly decided. Their combined contributions created a perfect whole”

Karin’s loom in the background

What a striking color combination for a room: green and orange.

Love the wall paper. This painting is of the kids waiting for Kris Kringle to come.

I love all the murals and painting on the walls.
Beautiful chair.

For more information on Carl Larsson, check here or here

  1. anna

    Clarke is going to be sooo jealous that you guys are going to Sweden! He wants to go back so badly.

    That is really exciting for you guys though – are you only going to be in Stockholm? You should definitely go to Lundt as well if you have the time – it is Clarke’s favorite area – beautiful rolling hills and red houses.

  2. Emilee

    You will absolutely die in Sweden. I loove it there. It is such a fabulous country. And you should def go to Lund and south like Malmo right above Denmark. I’m a friend of Kelly & Kim and found your blog through theirs. I also love design and love your blog.

  3. Jenny

    Thanks for the suggestions, ladies. Lundt is definitely on the list!
    We can’t wait!!

  4. Thank you for all the Larsson “love”. I am a fan of his too, and my daughter just got back from Sweden with placemats with his paintings. I wish I could do my whole house based on Larsson colors and style.,

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  6. connie spradling

    i have a carl larson lisbenth with yellow tulip.idont know much about it . it was giving to a josefine then josefine gave it susav in 1973. its a big painting

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