Born into poverty, Carl Larsson (Swedish, 1853–1919) earned a scholarship at the Stockholm Academy of Fine Arts and supported himself as a commercial illustrator. His career in fine art, in which his ambitions tended toward the monumental and allegorical, was lackluster, but this changed when he met his future wife, artist Karin Berg. Under her influence he began to produce light, bright watercolors, modest in scale and subject.
Karin’s father gave the newlyweds a small cottage in the rural village of Sundborn, and as their family expanded, they lavished energy on remodeling and decorating their home, which became an integral part of his paintings. Larsson, whose style was a unique amalgam of Swedish folk traditions, English Arts and Crafts design ideas, and Art Nouveau and Japanese influences, is still revered as Sweden’s best-loved artist.