Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The Workshop - Sewing Girl" - Carl Larsson

 


Carl Larsson was a Swedish painter, primarily representing the Arts and Crafts movement. He is principally known for his watercolors of idyllic family life. He had a childhood of poverty and indignity; the family was often evicted from the current revolting housing. His father, a casual laborer, cursed the day Larsson was born, and Larsson harbored a lifetime hatred of the man. His mother worked as a laundress to keep the family fed.

Carl Larsson's life took a better turn when a teacher at the school for the poor encouraged him to apply to Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. It took him some time to feel settled in and accepted there, but he gained confidence and was promoted through the school.

He worked as an illustrator and graphic artist and his wages even helped support his parents. He settled into the Scandinavian Artist colony outside Paris, where he met his wife, Karin Bergoo. The couple had eight children, and the family were Larsson's favorite models. Many of the interiors he painted were the work of Karin Larsson, an interior designer.

Through his paintings and books, their Little House interiors became world famous and a major line in Swedish design. The house is now in the family and open to tourists May through October. The room in this painting is The Workshop. It was the main gathering room, and when the family outgrew it, Larsson built a new Workshop. Karin at once took over the old Workshop as her own, and it remained a gathering place.

It is surmised this watercolor is of Karin, hemming towels for a daughter's wedding.

The first time I used this piece, we moved around the room naming all we saw. The room reminded me of our first studio, with looms and sewing machines, plants, and tables. I did not see the gun on the back wall until it was pointed out to me. 

Knowing more of Carl Larsson's life and family, it makes sense now. Larson lived from 1853 to 1919. This was a family room in a rural setting in Sundborn. The gun was a practical implement to save the family garden from animal marauders and stock the stewpot. 

If you call up Carl Larsson on the internet, you will find pages of his images and this room in many, including a spinning wheel and a weaver at the loom. There is a watercolor of Karin at the sewing machine. 

My thanks to Cathy at StillWaters, who first sent me a link to the picture.

25 comments:

  1. Thank you and Cathy for continuing my education.

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  2. I've always liked Carl Larsson's work but I didn't know much about his life. What a rough start he had! But it sounds like he later built the good career and happy life and home that he deserved.

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  3. CL produced many lovely paintings. His paintings tell a story of a hard working and wholesome family. The paintings are very appealing. CL had a difficult start in life but certainly managed to thrive and leave a nice legacy. Thank you Joanne for sharing this story with me.

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  4. Hari om
    most interesting... Thanks to Catby for the prompt and to you for following it up! YAM xx

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  5. I wrote a big comment and lost it. The gist: thank you for the info!!

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  6. Did we ever conclude what kind of rifle that is?

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  7. Thank you for delving into this and sharing the results. It's the kind of picture I love to look at again and again - very calming and with so many little details. A shame about the artist's father's reaction; what a terrible way to be thought of. But Larsson clearly worked hard and overcame that negativity. I wish all parents loved their kids and let them know it.

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  8. Until now, I had never heard of Carl Larrson and yet, it would seem that his art somehow represented my dream world.

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  9. Nice combo to describe the artist and the weaving.

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  10. we always loved Larrson's work , his home , his family- seemed ideal! My freind loved his work so much that she moved close by, married a guard of the queen and indeed had eight children, sewing matching clothing for all. It was not ideal, in the end the husband left her with all of those kids and no money. So it went...

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  11. I wouldn't mind working a jigsaw puzzle of this scene. It would be lovely!

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  12. That's a lovely picture and inspiring story. Some (not all) can overcome a beastly childhood and awful parenting.

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  13. Carl Larsson's story goes to prove that being born into abject poverty is no excuse for a life of crime and drug use, as is heard in many courtrooms today. Poor people can live a straight life and make something of themselves. His teacher helped with this too. Of course, way back then, the criminal and drug world was not as advanced as it is these days.
    It's interesting that you did not spot the gun until it was pointed out to you. I didn't see it at first either, but when it was mentioned in the comments, I looked again and saw it right away.

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  14. His wife's design was so fresh and simple and the use of turquoise brightens up any of his photos, I like the 🎨 in the orchard, he captures pretty children as well. Though he had 8 to choose from!

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    1. Edit; 'brightens up any of his paintings'

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  15. Thankyou An interesting history. I have always felt easy with his work

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  16. I've always enjoyed Carl Larsson's work but didn't know his background.

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  17. This is a nice little introduction, giving us interesting information without drowning us in detail.

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  18. Never heard of him but now I have. Thank you for sharing, Joanne.

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  19. My son as a teenager went with his orchestra to Sweden on a tour and brought his father a book of Carl Larson paintings as a present on his return

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  20. It's a wonderful painting. I love the bright colours and the sense of peaceful application.

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  21. As someone who has dabbled in watercolor, I must say that Larsson watercolor is a masterpiece.

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  22. I'm not familiar with him, admittedly.

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  23. I didn't know any of that about Carl Larsson but kudos to him for not following his father's footsteps. I like his pictures, but wonder if that table really was green. I suspect it might have been , Swedish furniture always surprises me. Thanks for drawing my attention to the picture, I'll look out more of them specifically now.

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  24. Thank you for introducing Larsson to me. I shall look him up to see more of his artwork.

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