Theodor Kittelsen (1857 – 1914) Norwegian Ceramicist and Book Illustrator

Theodor Kittelsen
Theodor Kittelsen

Theodor Kittelson (1857 – 1914) was a Norwegian ceramicist and book illustrator. He is one of the most popular artists in Norway. Kittelsen became famous for his nature paintings and illustrations of fairy tales and legends, especially trolls.

Education

Between 1884 – 1887 he studied painting in Munich.

Biography

In the early 1900s, he was a designer for Porsgrunds Porselaensfabrik, Porsgrunn. In 1882 Kittelsen was granted a state scholarship to study in Paris. In 1887 he returned to Norway for good. When back in Norway, he found nature to be a great inspiration. He spent the next two years in Lofoten, where he lived with his sister and brother-in-law at Skomvær Lighthouse. Kittelsen also started to write texts to his drawings there. 

Theodor Kittelsen and his family settled in a home and artist studio he called Lauvlia near Prestfoss in 1899. Kittelsen spent his best artistic years here. During this period, Kittelsen was hired to illustrate Norwegian Folktales (Norwegian: Norske Folkeeventyr) by the Norwegian folklore collector Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. In 1908 he was made Knight of The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. However, he was forced to sell and leave Lauvlia in 1910 due to failing health. He was granted an artist’s stipend in 1911 but died in Jeløya in 1914. After his death, his widow Inga Kittelsen was granted an annual salary from the Storting.

Cultural References

Black metal and folk metal bands such as Burzum, Empyrium, Otyg and Satyricon have used some of his pictures as album art, notably illustrations taken from Kittelsen’s book Svartedauen (The Black Death). Musician Phil Elverum named the tenth song on his 2017 album A Crow Looked at Me after Kittelesen’s painting “Soria Moria” specifically, illustrating his grief. Kittelsen’s 160th birthday was celebrated with a Google doodle on 27 April 2017, giving him some exposure outside Norway.

Kittelsen artworks

Artworks – Wikiart | Google Arts and Culture

Theodor Kittelsen in our partner stores

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, September 17). Theodor Kittelsen. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:34, December 7, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Theodor_Kittelsen&oldid=1044935898

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