Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Jacqui: JOHN BAUER
John Bauer was born on June 4, 1882 in Jonkoping, Sweden. At only 16 years of age, he went to Stockholm to begin studying art. Two years later, he was accepted as a student of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts. He was already being given illustration commissions while he was at the Academy John was influenced by such artists as Anders Zorn, Carl Larsson, Albert Engstrom and the surreal/fantasy work of Arnold Bocklin.
Between 1907 and 1915, John Bauer illustrated fairytales in Bland tomtar och troll (Among elves and trolls), a book published annually at Christmas. It was with these illustrations that John became the Swedish people’s favourite fairytale artist.
“The forest constantly feeds the imagination”, wrote John. And it was during his solitary wanderings in the country side, that John approached his fairytale world. In his sketch book he drew detailed studies of branches, sections of tree trunks, stumps, foliage, rocks and plants. Through his art he wanted to show us nature’s temple and to reveal to us another world, that of beauty. John Bauer has created an idealised image of the forest.
John’s trolls can be tiny creeping things, or gigantic mountain trolls, but usually they are the size of people. It is the eyes that differentiate John Bauer’s trolls from other people’s. Their different and limited ability to think means the trolls do not understand the human world, but their eyes hint at a good-natured and curious spirit.
John Bauer was the inspiration for the film The Dark Crystal.