Among Art Deco Gnomes

January 25, 2010 at 2:06 am 1 comment

My top 10 favorite things list definitely includes Sweden, Art Deco, and Fairytales*, so I am shocked to find that I’ve never seen Bland tomtar och Troll, or Among Gnomes and Trolls. This book is, apparently, a Swedish standby, published every year with new illustrations to accompany the folktales and fairytales it tells. The first edition, in 1907, was illustrated by the incredible John Bauer (I wonder if they called him Jack?). These dark illustrations, with their loose lines and drama, exemplify what ideal fairytale artwork should be in my mind. The gloomy, naturalistic nature of Scandinavian folktales in particular — with their shadowy forests and earth-dwelling dwarfs rather than unicorns or cupids — matches Bauer’s style, and the results are spectacular.  Art editors, take note. Let’s get some more books that look like this:

See a much more complete gallery  at Golden Age Comic Book Stories (a great blog, by the way, and one you should check out).

*The rest of the list? Pie, old bookstores, glacial lakes, TV marathons, King Arthur stories, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and I’m leaving one spot up for grabs.

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Pledging Well-defined

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. meg  |  January 30, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I grew up with this book — it’s still at my mother’s house. Also, *The Tomten*, which is both creepy and sweet. Come to think of it, “creepy and sweet” pretty much nails the ethos of the Swedish side of my family. Or at least “creepy, sweet, and unexpressive.”

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he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are.

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