November 20th, 2012
John Bauer’s world is filled with trolls, ethereal princesses and brave young boys, usually set in the deep, dark Swedish forest. The huge stones are covered with ancient moss, the trees are tall and foreboding. Few artists have made such an impact on the Swedish fairytale tradition, as he did.
At the tender age of sixteen he left home to pursue his artistic dreams, at eighteen he got accepted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, where he met his wife to be, Esther Ellquist. They were married for twelve years before they met their tragic end in 1918.
His short, but brilliant, carreer had its peak with the annual fairytale colletcion Bland Tomtar och Troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls). With these books Bauer became a household name, while many of the stories are now somewhat forgotten, his art lives on and continues to inspire children and artists alike.
In November 1918, the Bauer family boarded the steamer ferry S/S Per Brahe, on their way to their new home in Stockholm. Unfotunately they never arrived at their destination. John, Esther and their young son Bengt, met their end at sea on a cold November night, when S/S Per Brahe went down with all of its crew and passsengers. It took four years before their bodies were retrieved from the depths to finally be burried in the deep, dark soil of Småland. The place where he grew up, and had drawn so much inspiration from, became his final resting place.
For further reading we recommend:
John Bauer at Art Passions – bio and gallery