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John Bauer Art

Into the wide wide world

Welcome to the John Bauer page with images from Sagovarld (Great Swedish Fairy Tales, Swedish Folk Tales), Our Fathers' Godsaga. The Swansuit, Lapp Folk will appear here as I add them so check back.

Latest: Christmas Goat and He found her in a tree.

About Art Passions: Art Passions began a tribute to artists whose work I grew up, and whose work has meaning for me personally. The list of artists on, including recent additions to the site, as well as other information are available on the home page.

E-cards Click on any gallery image to send it as an e-postcard to a friend.

About John Bauer John Bauer was born in Jonkoping, Sweden, in 1882, the third of four children born to Emma and Joseph Bauer. The loss of his sister Anna, two years his senior, who died when John was only 11, which affected his family very much. At 16, John went to Stockholm to begin his art studies. After two years, he was accepted at The Royal Academy of Art, where Classical Art classes, Anatomy, Perspective, and History of Art lectures comprised seven lecture hours, with overtime and drawing assignments at home. There he met his wife, Esther, whom he married in December, 1906. Esther was the model for The Fairy Princess and many of his later illustrations. In the spring of 1908, John and Esther traveled to Italy, settling in a villa above Volterra. They stayed in Italy for nearly two years. Bauer was stricken by the beauty of 14th century works he found in the museum of Naples, causing him to say "I notice more and more, that it is from the oldest and most primitive artists that one must learn to become an artist oneself".

The details of John Bauer's work are accurate -- Bronze Age axes and medieval ironwork. The costumes in his fairy tales are modeled from books in found in the Royal Library. In 1904, he was commissioned to do a book about Lappland and spent a summer following the Lapps on their migrations. Some of the details of their dress are included in the costumes of his trolls.

His most famous work, the illustrations to the first of eight volumes of Bland tomtar och Troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls), a collection of fary tales written by Swedish authors, was published in 1907. It was hugely successful. In the early volumes, the illustrations were printed in grey tones only, sometimes with yellow color added. In the later volumes we find the famous examples of his mature work: Princess tuvstarr and Skutt the moose against the twilight sky. In the later volumes, his illustrations were printed in color.

In 1915, he resigned from the commission to illustrate BTT because he wanted to take his art in a different direction. He painted Adam and Eve, a fresco of St. Martin, a large oil painting on canvas, Freja. He suffered from depression, and doubted his abilities and purpose. By 1918, his marriage was on the rocks, divorce was being discussed, and the world was at war. The country house at Bjorkudden was too remote for Esther and a new home was built in Stockholm with assistance from John's father. Esther and John, and their two-year old son, Bengt or Putte, hoped to start a new life in the new home in Stockholm. John distrusted trains and insisted that they return by ferry, but the Per Brahe capsized in stormy weather and all aboard drowned.

Part 1 : Illustrations from Our Fathers' Godsaga

Awake Groa! Awake Mother!

Odin and Slipnir

Tyr and Fenrir

Freja and Svipdag

Bergtroll (Mountain Troll)

Loki and Idunn

Loki Finds Gullveig's Heart

Svipdag speak with Thokk

Svipdag (transformed) with Freja

Part 2 : Illustrations from Sagovarld (Swedish Fairy Tales/ Swedish Folk Tales)

Tale : When Mother Troll Took in the King's Washing

At night, Troll Mother would sneak out to get a whiff of coffee and bacon.

If only the people hadn't had dogs it might still have been bearable.

Troll Father became more cross and sullen as time went on.

They carried their troll kettle between them on a pole.

Troll Mother decided that here was just the wife for her son.

Tale : The Magician's Cape

He plucked the most luscious fruits and flew back to Alvida's window.

"Thank you for the beautiful pear," she said.

Tale : The Barrel Bung

"You villain, you rogue!" cried old Lady Skinflint.

Tale : The Seven Wishes

At that moment the frog became a beautiful fairy girl.

Tale : The King's Choice

The gray apparition was still standing behside his bed.

"But if you do wish to know, I can help you."

Herewith I appoint you, Ismaril, first councillor of the realm.

Tale : The Four Big Trolls and Little Peter Pastureman

Klampe-Lampe had dug himself a large hole under seven immense spruce trees.

He had a birchbark horn to blow on.

Messengers from the troll people had come to consult the witch.

A long row of dancing, singing trolls wove down to Seven Mile Mountain.

He blew a tune on the birchbark horn.

Tale : The Troll Ride

It seemed to him that somebody was sitting behind him on the horse's back.

Suddenly, he saw an strange-looking woman crawling along.

Tale : The Trolls and the Youngest Tomte

Tjovik climbed up into the old tomte's lap and stroked his beard.

They were so busy counting the treasure that they neither saw nor heard Tjovik enter.

Tale : The Ring

Once upon a time a young prince went riding out in the moonlight.

"Could it possibly be this ring?" he asked.

They rode for days and nights through forest and plain.

Other Resources

John Bauer Museum

A great article on Bauer (in Spanish): Lector Constante

Where to Buy John Bauer Prints

Leap the Elk - John Bauer She Offered her Petticoat to the Eagle Agneta and the Sea King Trolls in the Starlight

Calendars and Gifts


John Bauer 2011 Calendar: You can see the 2011 John Bauer calendar pages (you can frame the pages, since prints are hard to find.).

Art Prints: Bauer art prints are available here: Artsy Craftsy (source of the images right above).

Posters: Check the Find Prints and Posters page where you can do a general search (by artist, subject, or title. )

Books: Do a search for Books illustrated by John Bauer

Questions? Difficulties?

There's a good chance your question is answered in the FAQ, especially John Bauer copyright questions. Check there first, you'll get a faster answer. Other than that, sometimes things break. If something isn't working right, please tell the webmistress.

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