Illustration: John Bauer’s Bland Tomtar Och Troll

John Bauer

Like many of the artists we feature here on this blog, John Bauer is a name that not many people know. His career was relatively short, but his influence was far reaching.

John BauerJohn BauerBorn in 1882 in Sweden, Bauer studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. In 1904, he illustrated his first book, Lappland, but in 1907 he began work on a series of Christmas annuals that would make him famous. Bland Tomtar Och Troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls) is a Swedish tradition, beginning in 1907 and continuing to this very day. I’m afraid I don’t speak Swedish, so I can’t speak for the folk tales Bauer is illustrating, but the illustrations are stunning.

Bauer had a way with trolls… they are grotesque, yet appealing. The simple, yet elegant compositions conveyed the essence of the image clearly with a sense of humor that both children and adults could understand. His style influenced generations of artists from Gustaf Tenggren (who took over the Bland Tomtar Och Troll series after Bauer’s death in a shipwreck in 1918), Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and Kay Nielsen to Brian Froud and Jim Henson (The Dark Crystal). This particular edition of Bland Tomtar Och Troll is from 1915, but the images are timeless.

John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer

MORE BY JOHN BAUER
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius

Very little information on Bauer exists outside of his native country of Sweden. There is a museum dedicated to his work in the city where he was born. If you have any information on this great artist, please let us know about it in the comments below.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

4 Responses to “Illustration: John Bauer’s Bland Tomtar Och Troll”

  1. peter Bangs says:

    Beautiiful artwork. I had a 1916 edition of Bland Tomtar Och Troll picked up for pence in a house clearance many years ago when I was 15. I thumbed through it many a night trying to imagine the stories that accompanied the pictures until it was lost in a house move some 15 years later. Good to see it again so thank you Stephen for bringing back some fond memories.

  2. Melinda says:

    Hi found you via a random search on the apple app store and decided to brows a bit. Was surprised to find my country man Bauer as one of the first posts. :) btw the app has no easy way to show or let you add comments, so I nearly didn’t.

    Nice article about Bauer, but you got the title wrong.

    Bland tomtar och troll is closer to among gnomes and trolls, then any elves. Tomtar live in and around farms and either help the farmer or makes sickness and bad luck come to the farmer, depending on how nice the farmer is to him. If you google “tomte nisse” you should see a picture of one. :)

    I understand you are having problems finding information about Bauer in english. He is very famous in Swedish and a number of books can be found about him. If there is anything specific you are curious about or would like to know, feel free to email me and I can see if I can help you.

  3. Brett McCoy says:

    Wondferful artwork, and you can see the style later exemplified by Tenggren and Rackham. Reminds me of Sidney Sime a little bit, too

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