Lot 25
  • 25

Carl Larsson

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Carl Larsson
  • A Fairy (Kersti in the Meadow)
  • signed with initials and dated C. L. / Sundborn 1899 lower right
  • watercolour and pen and ink on paper
  • 45.5 by 33cm., 18 by 13in.


Ingegärd Henschen-Ingvar (by 1953; born in Uppsala, Henschen-Ingvar, 1890-1986, was a Swedish art and textile historian)
Sale: Bukowskis, Stockholm, 30 October 1990, lot 187
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Dresden, Grosse Kunstausstellung, 1904
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Carl Larsson, 1953, no. 201 (as En fé)
Gothenburg, Konstmuséet, Carl Larsson, 1971, no. 39
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Swedish Art Retrospective 1832-1982, 1982, no. 242


Carl Larsson, Larssons, Stockholm, 1902 (reprinted Königstein-im-Taunus, 1986), p. 19, discussed & illustrated
Hans-Curt Köster ed., The world of Carl Larsson, La Jolla, 1982, p. 102, illustrated
Ulwa Neergaard, Carl Larsson, Signerat med pensel och penna, Stockholm, 1999, vol. II, p. 77, no. 893, catalogued

Catalogue Note

The present work shows Kersti, Carl and Karin Larsson's youngest daughter, in the meadow at Spadarvet, the small farm in Sundborn acquired by the Larssons in 1897.

The Larssons' acquisition of Spadarvet, which adjoined Carl and Karin's country cottage Lilla Hyttnas in Sundborn, reinforced their affection for Sweden, its land and the peasant culture that they prized so highly. On the farm they kept a small herd of cows, and two horses, and their land and livestock provided the family with milk, eggs, meat and timber.

Carl Larsson's love of the countryside had first been awakened during his time in Grèz-sur-Loing, near Fontainebleau in France in the early 1880s, where he and Karin had met. He announced to his early Swedish patron Pontus Fürstenberg from Grèz: 'I've now opened my arms to Nature, no matter how simple it may be. The rutting, spawning earth is henceforth to be the subject of my painting.' (quoted by Görel Cavalli-Björkman in Carl Larsson, The Brooklyn Museum, exh. cat., 1982-83, p. 27).

Larsson selected the present image as an illustration in his book Larssons. Larsson's scenes based on the pleasures of family life had first been published in De Mina (My Loved Ones), in 1895. Although the enterprise did not meet with immediate commercial success, Larsson's publisher Karl Otto Bonnier persuaded the artist to develop the project by illustrating Ett hem (At Home), which he published in 1899. The success of that endeavour then precipitated its larger sequel, Larssons in which the present work was illustrated. Published as a deluxe edition, the book features thirty-two colour plates, and was printed in preparation for Christmas 1902.    

Describing the source of inspiration for the watercolour in Larssons, Larsson wrote: '...[Anders] Zorn asked me once whether I could think of anything more beautiful than a Swedish blossoming meadow. I am still contemplating the answer.' (quoted in Neergaard, vol. II, 1999, p. 77). Of the model for the present work, Larsson's two-year-old daughter Kersti, he wrote in Larssons that she was the kindest child he knew, that it would be inconceivable to imagine someone nicer, and that she was always happy and jolly.

The present work is one of a series of watercolours of a similar scale and format that Larsson completed in the late 1890s depicting a single child cocooned in nature. As well as Kersti, Larsson's fifth child Brita, born in 1893, also made an appearance in this group of works (fig. 1).