Theodor Severin Kittelsen (1857 – 1914)
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Theodor Kittelsen was a Norwegian artist born in the coastal town of Kragerø in Norway. He is famous for his nature paintings on the one hand, and on the other hand for his illustrations of fairytales and legends, especially of trolls.
For a time, Kittelsen studied painting and watchmaking. When his talent was discovered by Diderich Maria Aall, he attended classes at the School of Art in Christiania. Because of generous financial support by Aall he was able to continue his study in Munich. However, in 1879 Diderich Aall could no longer manage to support him, so Kittelsen had to earn his money as a draughtsman for German papers and magazines. When back in Norway, he found nature to be a great inspiration. Kittelsen started to write texts to his drawings here.
In 1881, Kittelsen was hired to illustrate Norwegian fairy-tales by the Norwegian folklore collector Peter Christen Asbjørnsen. His style could be classified between (Neo-)Romantic and naive painting. As a national artist he is highly respected and well known in Norway, but doesn’t receive much international attention and that is the reason for the fact that his name is hardly registered in registers of painters.
Black metal bands such as Burzum have used nearly all of his pictures as album art, notably illustrations taken from Kittelsen’s book Svartedauen (The Black Death). Still wondering about a Norwegian painting in your family collection? Contact us…it could be by Theodor Kittelsen.