”Hide-and-Seek” is an example of when Carl Larsson’s masterful artistry is at its best. The boldly cut composition with the diagonally accented perspective was created in 1898. Carl Larsson had by then only recently completed the frescoes at Nationamuseum’s lower stairwell as well as the ceiling painting and the lunettes in the gold foyer of the Swedish National Opera. Moreover, Carl Larsson had also just completed the 24 watercolours displayed in ”A Home Series”, which placed great technical demands on the artist, as they were made with the intention of being suitable for reproduction in print. When ”Hide-and-Seek” came about, Carl Larsson was neither bound by a client’s wishes nor other requirements, and could therefore let his playfulness and the imagination play freely, regardless of the motive or the perspective.
What was it that set the playfulness and imagination at play, then? Of course, it was none other than the playful daughter Lisbeth, who kept her father company in the workshop at Lilla Hyttnär in Sundborn. Carl Larsson’s granddaughter Ulwa Neergaard has said the following about the painting: "He hastily fastened his daughter with a pen on a piece of paper and made chalk marks on the floor and on the table where Lisbeth had her hands and feet, so that she could find the right position for upcoming 'sessions'. Then Lisbeth could play on, while Carl Larsson eagerly devoted himself to sketching out the interiors around Lisbeth and her hiding place. From the end result it is clear that Carl Larsson had fun during his work on ’Hide-and-Seek’, where both perspective and image construction have been created in a playful yet composed way".
This remarkable watercolour is directly from J.E Safra’s personal collection and has previously been exhibited, among other places, at the Venice Biennale in 1899 and at the inauguration of Liljevalch's Konsthall in Stockholm in 1916.
When is the viewing and auction for Important Winter Sale?
Viewing: 5–10 December at Berzelii Park in Stockholm, Sweden
Auction: 11–12 December at Arsenalsgatan 2 in Stockholm, Sweden
"Peek-A-Boo /Hide and seek (Kurragömma) (detail) by Carl Larsson. Signed C.L. Executed 1898. Watercolour with oil paint 93 x 62 cm.