Carl Larsson: Through the eyes of a painter

When I was watching the 60 Minute Makeover yesterday morning, the interior designer on the show made a reference to Carl Larsson, a well-known Swedish artist. He was famous in the Industrial Revolution for his depiction of “children” and making the family home more about family. The use of pastel colours in interior design was also a Larsson trademark.

When doing my own research I discovered that most of his paintings capture the innocence of children mostly from a voyeuristic perspective:


This print is known as Shelling Peas, Pub. In `Lasst Licht Hinin` (Let in More Light`). 1909.

I like this image due to its traditional interpretation of family life, for example, the mother in this image has commandeered the help of her daughter and son to prepare the vegetables. All of the characters are bonding and working together to produce something magnificent. The wall art in the background of this image represents a struggle, you could interpret this as the struggle to receive help from her children or it could be something quite sinister- it could reveal that these moments never last as there is a struggle between childhood and adulthood.

In the Holly Hedge


I chose this image because it epitomises the bond between children and Mother Nature. As a child I loved to play in the garden and I once found an over grown tree to hide in, a great piece of camouflage. It  had a readymade entrance way where I could hide if I never wanted to be found. Hide and seek was an iconic game played by all, the child in this image is no exception as she is half submerged in the holly hedge. The interruptions of the red berries amongst the green mass is very reminiscent of Swedish pattern and design as green and red are two colours which are frequently used in abstract art.

My Eldest Daughter, 1904


Larsson was also a family man who had children of his own. In this image we see his eldest daughter gazing across the table whilst reading a book. Larsson`s daughter looks very mature for her age and well dressed. By taking an image which is to the left, it reveals an angelic quality. She is sat in equal opposition to the painter which shows again admiration for the person in this image, she is not looked down upon or put on a pedestal, she is a balanced and well rounded person. As you look through the eyes of a painter, you see a very talented man who loves his family, who has a passion for Swedish design with the use of homely colours such as, whites, green wash, browns, pastel blues and creams.