John Bauer (illustrator)

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John Bauer
John Bauer artist Sweden.jpg
Born John Albert Bauer
(1882-06-04)4 June 1882
Jönköping, Sweden
Died 20 November 1918(1918-11-20) (aged 36)
Vättern, Sweden
Nationality Swedish
Education Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, Stockholm
Known for Illustration
Notable work(s) Tuvstarr gazes into the water
The Fairy princess
Saint Martin, the Holy
Movement Romantic nationalism
Awards Medal of honor, 1915, San Francisco.

John Albert Bauer (4 June 1882 – 20 November 1918) was a Swedish painter and illustrator. His paintings dealt with Swedish nature, mythical creatures, and magical places; he also composed portraits. He is best known for his illustrations in the early releases of Bland tomtar och troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls), an anthology about Swedish folklore and children's fairy tales.

Bauer was born and raised in Jönköping, the son of a respected food manufacturer. At 16, he moved to Stockholm to study at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. During his years at the academy, he received his first commissions to illustrate stories in books and magazines; as well as meeting artist Ester Ellqvist, whom he would marry in 1906.

Early in his career, Bauer traveled through Lappland, Germany, and Italy. Influences from these cultures became vital to his works. He painted and illustrated in a romantic nationalistic style, with influences from the Italian renaissance and the Sami culture. Most of his works are watercolors or prints in either monochrome or muted colors, due to the printing techniques at the time. His artistic expressions also included oil paintings and frescos.

Bauer was still developing as an artist exploring these techniques when, at the age of 36, he, Ester and their son, Bengt, drowned in a ship wreck on Lake Vättern.


Early life and education[edit]

John Bauer was born and raised in Jönköping, the son of Josef Bauer, a man of Bavarian origin, and Emma Charlotta Wadell, from a farming family from the town Rogberga just outside Jönköping.[1][2] Josef Bauer came to Sweden in 1863, penniless. He founded a successful charcuterie business at the Östra Torget in Jönköping,[2] where the family lived in the apartment above the shop until building a house in Sjövik in 1881, one year before John Bauer was born.[3] John lived at the Villa Sjövik by the shore of Lake Rocksjön with his two brothers, one older and one younger; his only sister died at a young age.[2] The family home would remain central to him long after he went out on his own.[3][4] He had his initial schooling at the The Jönköpings Högre Allmäna Läroverk (Jönköping Public School of Higher Education),[1] followed by Jönköpings Tekniska Skola (The Jönköping Technical School)[5] from 1892–98.[1] He spent most of his time at school drawing caricatures of his teachers and daydreaming,[4] something not appreciated by his teachers.[2]

He was always given to sketching and drawing, although he received no encouragement from his family in this.[2] However, when he turned sixteen and wanted to go to Stockholm to study art, they backed him wholeheartedly — both economically and in spirit.[6] In 1898, he was one of the 40 applicants for studies at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, and although he was deemed well qualified for a place at the academy, he was too young to be accepted. He spent the next two years at the Kaleb Ahltins school for painters. During this time he was, like most teenagers, torn between hope and despair, something that is reflected in his artwork.[6]

In 1900, he was finally old enough to attend the Academy of Arts, and he was one of the three students admitted that year. The other two who were accepted that year were his friends Ivar Kamke and Pontus Lanner.[7] At the academy he mostly studied traditional illustrations and made studies of plants, medieval costumes and croquis; all of which would come together in his later work illustrating Swedish folk sagas.[8] One of his teachers, professor Gustaf Cederström (a noted painter of history), praised Bauer:

Gustaf Cederström on Bauer:

His art is what I would call great art, in his almost miniaturized works he gives an impression of something much more powerful than many monumental artists can accomplice on acres of canvas. It is not size that matters but content.[9]

During his years at the academy, he received his first commissions for both magazine (e.g. Söndags-Nisse and Snöflingan) and book (e.g. De gyllene böckerna, Ljungars saga and Länge, länge sedan) illustrations.[10] In 1904, he traveled to Lappland to paint for a new book about the culture of the county and its "exotic wilderness".[11][12] At the end of 1905, he left the academy and put "Artist" on his business card.[13]

Journey to Lappland[edit]

With the discovery of large iron ore deposits in the north of Sweden, Lappland became the new frontier, becoming an industrial area instead of simply an exotic wilderness containing the Sami culture and the midnight sun. In the light of this, publisher Carl Adam Victor Lundholm decided to publish a new illustrated book on Lappland called Lappland, det stora svenska framtidslandet (Lappland, the great Swedish land of the future).[14] He engaged noted Swedish artists for the illustrations, such as Karl Tirén, Alfred Thörne, Per Daniel Holm and Hjalmar Lindberg. Bauer was the youngest of them all. Lundholm asked Bauer to participate in illustrating the book, but to ensure he had made the right decision he sent Bauer to do some test drawings of Sami people at Skansen, something Bauer was very reluctant to do.[15]

On 15 July 1904, Bauer left for Lappland, where he stayed for a month. Coming from the dense, dark forests of Småland he was overwhelmed by the open vistas and colorful landscapes. His encounters with the Sami people and their culture became important for his later works. He took many photos, sketched and made notes of all the tools, costumes and objects he saw, but he had difficulty becoming close to the Sami, due to their shyness.[15] He recorded his experiences in his diary and in letters to his family and friends.[16] After a visit to a Sami goahti he made these notes: "All light from above. If the head is tilted forward it is dark. The lit parts of the figure always lighter than the tent canvas. Sharp shadows run like spokes from the middle of the goathi."[17]

The book on Lappland was published in 1908, and contained eleven watercolors by Bauer. He painted these back in Stockholm, almost 18 months later, using the photos and sketches he had collected during his journey. By then the strong impressions from his encounter with Lappland had faded and the illustrations became more like regular commissions.[18] Many of the photos resulted in other drawings and paintings. Most of these were romanticized versions of the photos, but he succeeded in capturing the nuances and ambiance of the goahtis, and the richness of the Sami garments and crafts. Details from the Sami culture, such as the bent knives, shoes, spears, pots and belts, became important elements in the clothes and ornamentations of Bauer's trolls.[16] Bauer's eye for detail and his numerous notes also made the material an ethnographic documentation of the era.[19]

John and Ester[edit]

"The Fairy Princess", oil sketch by Bauer, his wife Ester modeling, 1904.

Among the students at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts was a young girl, Ester Ellqvist. Ester, also an artist, studied at the separate department for women, since women were not allowed to attend the same classes as the men, and their education was conducted in a different manner.[20] So, while Ester was talented and ambitious, she never had the same chance as her male colleagues to develop her artistry.[21]

Bauer started courting her in 1903,[22] but since they were apart most of the time, this was done by mail. Their growing relationship can be followed clearly in their letters, where they share dreams, aspirations, doubts and insecurities. For Bauer, Ester became his inspiration, muse, and "fairy princess"; it was as such he painted her for the first time in Sagoprinsessan (The Fairy Princess). He made sketches for the painting in 1904, and finalized them in an oil painting in 1905. Ester is portrayed as a strong, enlightened and unobtainable Valkyrie.[23] The painting was shown at Bauer's first exhibition at the Valand Academy in Gothenburg in 1905 (where he was one of eleven debutants),[13] and in Norrköping in 1906, where it was sold to a private collector.[24] It is now in the Jönköpings museum.[25] Bauer tried to mold Ester into his vision of a creature of the woods as well as the perfect artist's wife; he wanted her to make a home for them in a romantic cottage in the woods, while he himself wandered about the forest seeking inspiration.[26]

Ester, on the other hand, had been raised in Stockholm and was a lively person who enjoyed the social life that could only be found in towns or cities. She wanted to settle down in a comfortable place with a husband and have children. Bauer was not yet so established an artist that he could provide for a family;[23] during his entire life he had to rely on his parents for financial support. When he proposed to Ester, Bauer did so without the approval of his parents.[27]

On 18 December 1906, Bauer and Ester were married. Not much is known about their first years together since they now lived in the same house, making letters unnecessary. Bauer was getting jobs illustrating covers for magazines (Hvar 8 Dag), and also started work on Bland tomtar och troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls).[28][29] In 1908, John and Ester traveled to Italy together; on their return they found a house, the "Villa Björkudden", situated on the shores of Lake Bunn just outside Gränna. They bought the house in 1914, and the following year their son Bengt (called "Putte") was born.[30] The birth of Putte marked a harmonious time for Bauer. The child was his and Ester's great joy. Bauer was doing his final illustrations for Among Gnomes and Trolls, his grand farewell to the series. He was now free to try new pursuits such as playwriting and frescos. He showed his paintings at exhibitions and experimented with new ways of painting, but all this came at a cost. Bauer was often away, leaving Ester alone at home, and he no longer had the steady income that the illustrations had provided.[31] By 1917, their marriage was in trouble, and in 1918, Bauer put his thoughts about a divorce in a letter to Ester.[32][23]

As time went on, Bauer began to use Ester as a model less and less.[33] With the birth of their son, Bauer started to paint pictures with children as part of the composition. The painting Rottrollen (The Root Trolls), completed in 1917, is of Putte sleeping among troll-shaped roots in a forest.[34]

Journey to Italy[edit]

Bauer had previously visited Germany with his father in 1902. The old medieval towns made a great impression on Bauer, so in 1908, when he and Ester had the opportunity to make a longer journey at Josef's expense, they choose to travel through Germany and on to Italy. They visited Verona, Florence, Siena, stayed two months in Volterra, then continued their journey, visiting Naples and Capri, before spending the winter in Rome.[35]

They made the most of their visit, studying art and visiting churches and museums which appealed to the eclectic mind of Bauer. In the evenings they went to small tavernas to enjoy the ambiance; all of which is recorded in the letters they sent home to Bauer's family.[36] Bauer's sketchbooks from the journey are full of studies of antique objects and renaissance art, some of which he later used in his illustrations. A portrait of Ghirlandaio by Sandro Botticelli is said to be the basis for Svanhamnen (The Swan maiden), and Piero della Francesca's work was the inspiration for Den helige Martin (Saint Martin, the Holy). He also became intrigued with the technique of fresco. But all of this exuberance for art also made him homesick; he longed for the quiet serenity of the Swedish forest.[37] Consequently, this resulted in some of his best winter pictures with white snow, dark woods and the sky glittering with tiny stars.[38]

The journey was cut short when a murder took place in the building where they lived in Rome. Bauer was interrogated by the Italian police due to a misunderstanding. He was never a suspect but the whole thing became very public, leaving a bitter memory to their visit in Rome.[39]

Death on Lake Vättern[edit]

The S/S Per Brahe in Stockholm after the salvage.

Bauer, Ester and their two-year old son, Bengt, were on their way to their new home in Stockholm, where Bauer hoped for spiritual renewal and a new life for himself and his family. A recent, well-publicized train accident at Getå[40] caused Bauer to book their return to Stockholm by boat, the Per Brahe steamer.[41]

On the night of 19 November 1918, when the steamer left Gränna it was loaded with iron stoves, plowshares, sewing machines and produce in barrels. All the cargo did not fit into the hold and a significant was stored unsecured on deck, making the ship top-heavy. The weather was bad and by the time the steamer was at sea a full storm was raging; the wind caused the cargo on deck to shift, some of it falling overboard, further destabilizing the ship. The ship capsized and went down, stern first, just 500 metres (1,600 feet) from the next port, Hästholmen, killing all 24 people onboard, including the Bauers. Most of the passengers had been trapped in their cabins.[42]

The wreckage was found on 22 November 1918, at a depth of 32 metres (105 feet); it was salvaged on 12 August 1922. Investigations indicated that only one third of the cargo had been stowed in the hold, while the rest was on deck, unsecured.[42] The salvage operation turned into a bizarre public attraction; for example, a sewing machine from the steamer was smashed into pieces and sold for one crown each. It is estimated that about 20,000 people came to watch the raising of the ship, causing extra trains from Norrköping to be added. Newsreels featuring the raising of the ship were shown in cinemas all over Sweden.[43] In order to finance the salvage operation, the Per Brahe was sent on a macabre tour throughout Sweden.[44] The newspapers fed people's superstitions that the mythical creatures of the forests had claimed Bauer by sinking the ship. The most common theme was connected to the tale Agneta och sjökungen (Agneta and the Sea King), from 1910, where the Sea King lures a maiden into the depths.[45] On 18 August 1922, the Bauers were buried at the Östra cemetery in Jönköping (in quarter 04 plot number 06).[46]

Bauer, the person[edit]

Self-portrait made in Volterra, 1908.

During his entire life Bauer privately had doubts about himself and what he was doing. He downplayed the praise he received for his pictures of trolls and princesses, comparing it to "a nice pat on the head for making funny pictures for children".[47] He wanted to paint in oil and make what he called real art, but he also needed the money he got for his illustrations.[48] All this was contrary to the face he put on in public and when making self portraits: strong and self-deprecating in his relation to the trolls and gnomes.[49][50]

In an article in Allers Familje-journal (Allers Family Journal) in 1953, his friend Ove Eklund stated that Bauer, "although only mumbled about and never said clearly", believed that all the creatures he drew actually existed. Eklund had on several occasions accompanied Bauer on his walks through the forests by Lake Vättern, and Bauer's description of all the things he thought existed made Eklund feel he could see them as well.[51]

Ove Eklund on Bauer:

Yes, there he was, John Bauer, with his brown, eternal pipe glued to the corner of his mouth. Now and then he blew a small cloud of brown troll smoke straight up into the turquoise-bleu, sun-sparkling space. And muttered something far behind his tight, narrow lips—not always so easy to decipher. But I, having had the key for many years, understood most of it.[51]


Bauer's favorite subject was Swedish nature, the dense forests where the light trickled down through the mighty tree canopies. Ever since he was little he had wandered in the deep, dark woods of Småland imagining all the creatures living there.[52][53] He painted places easily recognizable to anyone who has ever been in the Swedish woods. He is best known for his illustrations of Among Gnomes and Trolls.[54]

Bauer and his friends were part of an "in-between generation" in Swedish art. The new modernism movement in Europe was still some years away, but at the same time Bauer's group were considerably younger than the artists still dominating the Swedish art scene: Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn and Bruno Liljefors.[21] Bauer was inspired by these artists, but also came in contact with the works of Fritz Erler, Max Klinger and other German illustrators, due to his heritage.[55] He lived in an era when the Old Norse were romanticized throughout Scandinavia, and he borrowed ideas and motifs from artists like Theodor Kittelsen and Erik Werenskiöld, yet his finished works were very much his own. [56] After his journey to Italy his works clearly showed elements from the 14th century renaissance. The pictures of princes and princesses had elements from Flandic tapestries, and even the trolls got pleats in their attire much like those seen in antique Roman sculptures.[57]

Bauer had a time consuming technique when painting: he would start with a small sketch, no bigger than a stamp, with just the basic shapes. Then he would make another, slightly bigger, sketch with more details. The sketches grew progressively in size and detail until the work reached its final size. Most of the originals for About Gnomes and Trolls are square pictures about 20 to 25 centimetres (7.9 to 9.8 inches). He doodled on anything at hand, from used stationary to the back of an envelope.[58] Many of his sketches look almost like cartoon strips where the pictures get bigger and more detailed. He would also do several versions of the same finished picture, such as one summer and one winter version.[59][60] He also did not observe the traditional hierarchy in the mediums or techniques at that time. He could make a complete work in pencil or charcoal just as well as a sketch in oil.[61]

At the beginning of his career as an illustrator, Bauer was hindered by the printing technique at that time: printing with all colors was very expensive, and therefore not normally done, so he had to settle for one color plus black.[62] But as the printing process developed and his works became more in demand, the pictures gained more color until they were finally printed in full color.[63]


Ester in the cottage, aquarelle, 1907.

The most noted of Bauer's pictures are his watercolors, the technique he used when illustrating for books and magazines; he alternated between aquarelle and gouache. When he created illustrations the two mediums were sometimes mixed, since he needed both the speed of the aquarelle and the contrast and impasto that the gouache provided.[64] These water-soluble, and fast drying, media allowed Bauer to tweak his pictures right up until the last minute before deadline, something he almost always did.[65]

Among Gnomes and Trolls[edit]

In 1907, Bauer was asked by the Åhlén & Åkerlund publishing house (now Bonnier Group) to illustrate their new series of books Among Gnomes and Trolls. The books would be published annually, and contain stories by prominent Swedish authors.[62] The majority of the pictures were full page watercolor illustrations in a muted color scheme; Bauer also contributed with covers, vignettes and other smaller illustrations.[1] Bauer's most significant creatures, the trolls, were painted in shades of gray, green, and brown, the colors of the forests, as if these beings had grown from the landscape itself.[66]

In the 1907–10 editions, due to the printing techniques available at that time, all the pictures were reproduced in two colors: black and yellow. Some of Bauer's originals of these prints were in full color.[67]

In 1911, when Bauer again was asked to illustrate the book, he made it clear to the publisher that he wanted to retain his pictures along with the copyrights after publication. Up to that point, the publishing house had kept the original illustrations and considered them their property. Bauer was backed up in his request by other artists facing the same problem. However, the company did not budge from its position and, with no illustrations by Bauer, the sales of the book dropped considerably.[68]

For the 1912 edition, the publisher yielded to Bauer's demands and he was once again illustrating the book. Printing had also been updated, so the pictures could be printed in three colors: black, yellow and blue. A huge improvement for Bauer, as the prints more closely resembled the originals.[69]

Bauer also illustrated the editions from 1913–15, printed in the same three color scheme as the 1912 edition. The 1913 edition marked the peak of his performance in these books, and Bauer's illustrations from that book are among the most reproduced of his works.[70] In 1914, his illustrations began to show influence from the Italian renaissance. By this point Bauer wanted to move on from the limited field of illustrating the series, but was contractually obligated to illustrate another edition.[71] 1915 was the last year he worked with trolls and gnomes; he was done with them and wanted to move on.[72] The war in Europe had altered his vision of the world, it was no longer a cute fairy tale.[73]


Ännu sitter Tuvstarr kvar och ser ner i vattnet. ("Still, Tuvstarr sits and gazes down into the water.") 1913.

Princess Tuvstarr and the forest tarn ("Tuvstarr" is Swedish for Carex cespitosa), painted in 1913, is perhaps Bauer's most noted work.[74]

Until the 1980s, the most reproduced and publicized of Bauer's paintings were two of princess Tuvstarr and the moose, Skutt, from Sagan om älgtjuren Skutt och lilla prinsessan Tuvstarr (The Tale of the Moose Hop and the Little Princess Cotton Grass), published in 1913. The first is of the princess riding on the moose and the second is of the moose standing guard over the sleeping princess. The paintings were mostly used as pictures for nurseries.[75] The same tale also contains the picture of Tuvstarr gazing down into the tarn looking for her lost heart, an allegory of innocence lost.[29] Bauer made several studies of this motif.[76][77] During the 1980s the painting of Tuvstarr and the tarn was used in advertising for a shampoo. This sparked a debate in Sweden about how works of art, considered part of the national heritage, should be used.[29] In 1999, the picture again appeared in advertising, this time in a manipulated version in which all the trees had been cut down and Tuvstarr seemed to be lamenting them. The award-winning advertising campaign was made by The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen) and helped further the newly awakened environmental movement in Sweden.[78] In his biography on Bauer, Gunnar Lindqvist argues that the picture has become too commercialized.[79]

Oil painting[edit]

At the beginning of his career Bauer created many of his major works in oil, as this was the traditional way which he had been taught at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. The trip to Lappland resulted in many sketches and watercolors for his book, but he also painted an oil on canvas entitled, Kåsovagge, in 1904.[18] From 1903–05, he made several portraits and landscapes in a fresh expressionistic style.[80] He also made his first oil of Ester, The fairy princess, a painting with elements from the Pre-Raphaelites. This painting shows clearly which direction Bauer wanted to go with his art,[24] but his commissions from illustrating "Among gomes and trolls" got in the way. He felt like a Jack-of-all-trades, and made regular outbursts in letters to editors and publishers asking for his help, saying that although he "had to work, he wanted a future painting in oil and the rest be damned".[48] By the time he was finished with his trolls and gnomes he was tired and worn out, and turned to other venues such as scenography, writing a compendium on drawing to be used in schools, and starting with frescos. He never really revisited oil painting before he drowned.[81]

Large works[edit]

Freja, sketch for a large oil paiting, 1917.

As in his earlier works at the academy, Bauer showed an interest in large frescos and, after his visit to Italy, this interest began to grow. His first chance to do a major work using this technique was in 1912, when he did a 1.5-by-1.5-metre (4 ft 11 in by 4 ft 11 in) fresco-secco mural, Vill-Vallareman, at the home of publisher Erik Åkerlund.[82] In 1913, he was asked to do a fresco for the Odd Fellows lodge in Nyköping, Den helige Martin (Saint Martin, the Holy).[83] At the same time, the new Stockholm Court House was under construction. Contests regarding decorations in the building were held, and most of the artists at the time presented entries and suggestions. Bauer made many sketches for these competitions, but his confidence failed and he never entered any of his drafts.[82]

Bauer's last large work was an oil painting for the auditorium at the Karlskrona school for girls in 1917. It is of Freja, the old Norse goddess of fertility. Ester posed for the painting nude and Bauer depicted her as strong, sensual and forceful.[82] Their friends teasingly called it "a breast picture of Mrs. Bauer".[83]

Exhibitions, a selection[edit]

  • 1905 Gothenburg
  • 1906 Norrkoping
  • 1911 Rome
  • 1913 Munich
  • 1913 Dresden
  • 1913 Brighton
  • 1913 Stockholm
  • 1914 Malmö
  • 1915 San Francisco

Memorial exhibitions[edit]

  • 1934–45 Traveling exhibition
  • 1968 Jönköpings läns museum, Jönköping
  • 1973 Thielska galleriet, Stockholm
  • 1981–82 Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
  • 1993 Milesgården, Stockholm
  • 1994 Göteborgs konstmuseum, Gothenburg


Bauer was awarded the medal of honor at the 1915 exhibition in San Francisco.[1][84]

Art market[edit]

As of 2014, Bauer's pictures remain highly sought after at auction. At Stockholm auctioneer Bukowski's classic sale in 2014, one of Bauer's gouaches, Humpe I trollskogen (Humpe in the Troll Forest), sold for 563,500 kronor (about US$87,000), and a watercolor, En riddare red fram (A Knight Rode Forth), sold for 551,250 kronor (approximately US$85,100).[85][86]


John Bauer's illustrations have been reprinted many times, making his work available to generations of Swedish children. His pictures are considered among the classics in fairy tales.[87] As of 2014, books with Bauer's pictures had been published in ten languages.[88] Bauer's influence on other artists can be noted in the works of illustrators such as Sulamith Wülfing, Kay Nielsen, Brian Froud and Rebecca Guay. In his biography on Bauer, Gunnar Lindqvist states that: "Although Bauer's work is sometimes credited to have influenced that of Arthur Rackham, and vice versa, these artists did not come in contact with each others (sic) works until the 1910s when they had already established their own style. Any similarities must therefore be credited to their common inspirations by the romantic Munich art of the late 1800s and the art of Albrecht Dürer."[89]

The Jönköpings läns museum owns over 1,000 paintings, drawings and sketches by Bauer, which is the world's largest collection of his artwork.[87] He is also represented at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, the Gothenburg Museum of Art and the Malmö konstmuseum.[90] The John Bauer Museum in Ebenhausen, Germany is a museum dedicated to the life and works of Bauer.[91]

Most of the correspondence attributed to John Bauer (about 1000 letters) is now in the Jönköpings läns museum.[92] The letters in the collection are in the process of being digitized.[93] Other letters to and from Bauer can be found at the National Library of Sweden[94] and the Gothenburg University Library[95]


"At dusk she often snuck out just to get a whiff of the good smell", 1914.

In 1986, Sveriges Television produced and broadcast the movie Ester—om John Bauers wife (Ester—About John Bauers Wife). Ester was played by Lena T. Hansson, while John was portrayed by Per Mattsson.[96]

A short film for children about Bauer and storytelling, John Bauer, fantasin och sagorna (John Bauer, Fantasy and Tales) was made in 2013; created by Ulf Hansson, Kunskapsmedia AB, in co-operation with the Jönköpings läns museum and John Bauer Art HB.[97]

The Sveriges Television series Konstverk berättar (A Work of Art Tells a Story) featured the picture At dusk she often snuck out just to get a whiff of the good smell in the episode "The childhood picture", by Bengt Lagerkvist on 24 January 1977. The episode is available in Sweden through the Swedish Television Open Archive.[98]

A film project about John and Ester Bauer was started in 2012, by Börje Peratt. Called John Bauer—Bergakungen (John Bauer—The Mountain King), the movie focuses on the fairy tale artist and his love for Ester. Gustaf Skarsgård is slated for the role of Bauer.[99]


The John Bauer monumentet in Jönköping.

In Jönköping, a memorial in honour of Bauer stands in the Town park, which was created in 1931 by Swedish sculptor Carl Hultström.[100] Hultström have also made a bust in bronze of John Bauer, which sits in the National Portrait Gallery at Gripsholm Castle.[101]

Celebrating John Bauer's centennial birthday in 1982, the Swedish postal service issued three stamps with motifs from Among Gnomes and Trolls. In 1997, another four were issued.[90]

A park and an adjacent street at the place where Villa Sjövik, Bauer's family home, once stood were named after him. The area is now part of the municipality of Jönköping.[102] In Mullsjö a street was named after Bauer,[103] and in Nyköping a square was named after him.[104]

The John Bauer Trail (John Bauer leden) is a hiking trail through the woods where Bauer used to wander in search of motifs and inspiration. Located between Huskvarna and Gränna, the trail is 46 km (29 mi) long and divided into two stages: the north and the south part.[105]

Modern day influence[edit]

  • Swedish photographer Mats Andersson published a book where he revisited the forests of Bauer, using a camera instead of drawing. The pictures were also exhibited at the Abecita art museum in Borås in November 2013.[106][107]
  • A Scandinavian franchise of private schools (now defunct) derived its name and some themes from Bauer, such as naming the classes after his characters.[108]
  • Bauer is mentioned in Neil Gaiman's comic book series The Sandman.[109]
  • The visual look of the motion picture The Dark Crystal, directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, was developed by primary concept artist and chief creature designer, Brian Froud, one of whose inspirations was the art of Bauer.[110]
  • Italian musician Gianluca Plomitallo, a.k.a. "The Huge", made an album called John Bauer–Riddaren Rider, where all the songs are named after pictures by Bauer.[111]
  • Norwegian Artist Mortiis uses the art of Bauer on his ambient albums.[112]
  • Swedish poet Roger L. Svensson uses the Bauer Memorial and Bauer's creations in his poems.[113]

Works by John Bauer[edit]

For illustrations from the famous children's anthology, see Among Gnomes and Trolls

Other works

Written work


  1. ^ a b c d e Romdahl, Axel L. "John Bauer". In Axelsson, Roger. Svenskt biografiskt lexikon (in Swedish) 2 (1920 ed.). Stockholm: National Archives of Sweden. p. 783. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Den unge Bauer" [The Young Bauer]. Jönköpings läns museum. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Villa Sjövik". Jönköpings Läns Museum. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Agrenius 1996, p. 8.
  5. ^ Lindqvist 1979, p. 9.
  6. ^ a b Corin 2013, p. 8.
  7. ^ Lindqvist 1979, p. 10.
  8. ^ Lindqvist 1979, pp. 10–12.
  9. ^ Lindqvist 1979, p. 12.
  10. ^ Lindqvist 1979, p. 13.
  11. ^ Lindqvist 1979, p. 14.
  12. ^ Bjurström et al. 1982, p. 190.
  13. ^ a b Corin 2013, p. 16.
  14. ^ Agrenius 1996, p. 23.
  15. ^ a b Lindqvist 1979, p. 16.
  16. ^ a b Corin 2013, p. 14.
  17. ^ Lindqvist 1979, p. 21.
  18. ^ a b Bjurström et al. 1982, p. 14.
  19. ^ Lindqvist 1979, p. 20.
  20. ^ e.g. When they did croquis, the models were not allowed to remove all of their clothing.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]