Carl Larsson, executed 1884. Watercolour and charcoal on paper glued on panel
"Agrée à Grez". 79 x 106 cm.
Creases. Ruptures. Loss of paper. Scratchmarks.
Professor Carl Wahlund (1846-1913), Uppsala.
Kalmar Nation, Uppsala (deposited at Carolina Rediviva since 1986).
Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, "Grez-sur-Loing" - konst och relationer", 5 March - 18 August 2019, cat no 71.
Ulwa Neergaard, ”Carl Larsson: signerat med pensel och penna”, 1999, listed in the catalogue under 1884, p. 25 cat no. 200.
Georg Pauli, ”Konstnärsbrev II”, Stockholm 1928, p.21f.
Börjeson, Bertil "Från Grèz till 'Bortom Bullret'. Några anteckningar om Kalmar Nations Carl Larsson-kartonger.", in Kalmar Nations skriftserie XXVII, 1950, p. 42-45.
Börjeson, Bertil, ”De nordiska konstnärernas jul i Paris 1882. Ett postscriptum till uppsatsen Från Grèz till Bortom bullret”, in Kalmar nations skriftserie XXIX, 1952, p. 30-36.
Nationalmuseum, Torsten Gunnarsson, "Carl Larsson, En utställning ingående i Nationalmuseums 200-årsjubileum", Stockholm, 1992, p 44
Gunnarsson, Torsten. (red.), The painters in Grez-sur-Loing, Tokyo, 2000.
Meister, Anna, Rech, Carina & Sidén, Karin (red.), Grez-sur-Loing: konst och relationer, Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, Stockholm, 2019, illustrated p 176 and mentioned p 176f.
The French village of Grez–sur–Loing came to play an important role in Swedish art history during the late 19th century. The social life in the artist colony seems to have been as great a source of inspiration as the French landscape. The following catalog numbers provide insight in a unique way into the close relationships that the artists in Grez had with each other, describing it in a fun, free and unconventional way. Several of Carl Larsson's illustrations from the artists’ life in Grez, from the same period, could be found in the Art Academy's student magazine "Palett-Skrap" [pallette scrape] and in several other magazines. Carl Larsson came to illustrate, as well as take the leading role in the social life in the artist colony. You can also see traces of this when he in a similar way illustrates and “directs” life in Sundborn through his watercolors and publications, but with his family in the leading roles.
These images (called “kartonger” in Swedish Carl Lsrsson research) give viewers who did not get the chance to be there in person, an opportunity to get personal and informal insight into what happened when they weren’t painting - love, passions, and disappointments were as present then as now. In his illustrations of life, Carl Larsson displays an incredible ability to observe and take advantage of small details, stories, and characteristic features among his friends and his contemporary time.
Some of the anecdotal material in the illustrations passes over our contemporary heads as it was not written down exactly what was intended and because it was a kind of inside joke among friends and artist colleagues. Another important source for this context is Johan Christian Janzon, who was Svenska Dagbladet's correspondent and wrote under the name "Spada". His texts, which were sent home to Stockholm, also provided insights into the artists' colony's parties and antics and were read by a large audience.
Carl and Karin Larsson settled permanently in Grez and came to host a big Christmas party in Christmas of 1884, which had become something of a tradition. Before these parties, Larsson painted caricatures of friends and events in the lives of the guests. When it was time for Larsson to show these cartoons, Spada used to supplement with verses that were more, or less, improvised. The collection that is being sold at this spring’s Important Spring Sale comes from Professor Carl Wahlund (1846-1913), Romanist and art collector, who often spent time with Swedish artists in Paris and Grez. He was at the Christmas party of 1884 and Georg Pauli writes about the cartoons in his “Konstnärsbrev II” (1928): “Some of these cartoons were recovered by Professor Wahlund, but the vast majority were lost. Unfortunately! for preserved they would have formed a continuous chronicle of caricature”. Five of the cartoons are from the Christmas party of 1882 where we through Spada’s story from 1883 can identify them with his verses. Here we have "Involuntary divorce" (in Spada's text called "The corner before and now"), "Bedtime", "Ball in the wedding god's enclosure" (diptych), and "On classic ground".
Back home in Uppsala, Carl Wahlund collected the works of his acquaintances in his home called "Bortom Bullret", S:t Johannesgatan 12. In one of the rooms, four of the cartoons were mounted on the walls, and at his death, he bequeathed his book collection to Uppsala University Library and his house to the University. The university sold the house to Kalmar nation in 1913, and with the purchase came the four cartoons mounted on the walls and - which was revealed later - another ten watercolors. Since 1986, the cartoons have been deposited at Uppsala University Library.
Readers of Svenska Dagbladet could on 5 January 1885, not many days after the Christmas party in 1884, read about the entertainment where the auction's cartoons were the grand finale of the festivities:
”Issued by the company Larsson & Janzon, which has been established for several years,… almost all those present - and some absent - appeared in different situations. There one saw e.g. Gegerfelt's wonderful adventure in Venice with a shark. Norström [sic] as an Eastern sultan in a harem, full of light bayaderes… Larsson in agrée uniform with plumes, gallons and drawn sword […]. That the 'fall of the curtain' was accompanied by double rounds of hip! Hurray !, was clear "
Carl Larsson is considered one of the greatest Swedish artists of all time. He was born in Gamla Stan in Stockholm and studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in the years 1866-76. After his studies in Stockholm, he traveled to France and settled in Grèz-sur-Loing. There he mainly painted garden motifs. In France, he met his future wife Karin Bergöö, who was also an artist and came to mean a lot for his artistry. Already during his student years, he made a living as a photo retoucher and cartoonist in the press. It was also during his studies that Larsson got to know Anders Zorn and Bruno Liljefors, together the three are usually called the ABC artists. At the end of the 1880s, Carl and Karin were given "Lilla Hyttnäs" in Sundborn outside Falun by Karin's father, and this is where Larsson's most famous watercolors depicting his family were created. The motifs often depict sunny landscapes with children, crayfish fishing, meals in the green and interior scenes. Larsson is represented, among other, in the National Museum, where "Gustav Vasas intåg i Stockholm" and "Midvinterblot" fills the stairwell. Represented mainly at the National Museum in Stockholm and at the Gothenburg Art Museum.Read more