John Bauer's life was very short and very sad. Despite this, he left behind many illustrations that later became inspiration for loads of later artists, like Arthur Rackham, Sulamith Wülfing or Kay Nielsen. Would you like to read about him and about his trolls?
36 gloomy years
He started sketching very early in his childhood, although there is no formal date known. In 1898, when young Bauer was 16, he moved to Stockholm to study art and two years later he started attending to the Royal Swedish Academy of Art.
The Academy was also a place where he met his future wife, Esther Ellquist, who later became his model in many of his paintings and illustrations. After they got married in 1906, they set off for Italy and Germany in 1908. It took two years before they returned.
However, Bauer made attempts to save his family and his life. He bought a new house in Stockholm and in November 1918 John and his family were on their way there. A bit earlier this year, in October, all the Sweden was in mourn after a terrible train accident (it was the worst train accident in Sweden ever, killing at least 42 people, of whom many was burned alive after they survived the crash itself). Keeping that in mind, they planned to get to Stockholm on a ferry, the Per Brahe steamer.
On the 20th of November 1918, Per Brahe had an accident. John Bauer, his wife and their son - none of them survived.
Paintings and illustrations
He used to illustrate a yearly fairy-tale book, Bland tomtar och troll, thanks to which he became famous in 1907 and his most popular artworks were those published in 1912-1915.
It is quite obvious that Bauer had a finely defined style, easy to recognise after you meet one. His works often have something darker hidden underneath, the presented situations are often set in gloomy surroundings, but at the same time they usually contain a brighter, more positive detail.