Gerhard Munthe (1849-1929)

Norwegian illustrator and designer, famous for his stylized 'art deco' Norse style which was very popular in the late part of the 19th century.

Here is Munthe's illustration of the classic Bukke Bruse story from Asbjørnsen and Moe's fairy tale collection about the troll under the bridge that is being outwitted by the strongest of 3 goats (the 2 others having already been consumed by the irritable troll):

And a detail of the troll himself:

And here is a troll woman with a particularly long nose from one of his designs in his particular mix of art deco and Viking design. You can see more of his work here.

Gustaf Adolf Tenggren (1896-1970)

Swedish illustrator, replaced John Bauer as the illustrator of Bland Tomtar och Troll (Among Pixies and Trolls), moved to America in 1920 where he later found work as illustrator at Disney and worked on several movies incl. Snow White. You can read more about him here.
Here are three troll illustrations by him:

Trolls descending a hill (1915), watercolour and gouache

"She combed their hair" (Bathing in a lily pond), tempera

Troll being chased out of the village

Finally a beautiful watercolour from 1917 called "The Fairytale Forest" with trolls lurking behind every stone and tree - painted during the horrors of World War I:

Lorenz Frölich (1820-1908)

Danish illustrator whose classical training and classicist style is reflected in this picture of Ymer, the first troll according to Norse mythology.

Erik Werenskiold (1855-1938)

Norwegian artist who at the age of 25 illustrated the Norwegian fairy tales by Asbjørnsen and Moe. Also illustrated the Icelandic sagas. The picture to the left reminds us that trolls are always close by even if you cannot see them.

According to his grandson, Erik Werenskiold was once told by his friend and troll painter colleague Th. Kittelsen: "You cannot draw trolls, Erik, you haven't even seen a troll!"

Werenskiold was a great supporter of realism and always studied his material in great details, be it landscapes, interiors or clothes, and thus was the first who turned the castles of Norwegian fairy tales into big traditional farms set in typical Norwegian countryside, while the kings looked like typical Norwegian farmers, thus connecting fairy tales with a realistic national style very unlike Kittelsen's romantic symbolism.

Askeladden kills the troll (ink drawing)

And finally a funny sketch of a three-headed troll:

Hans Gerhard Sørensen (1923-1999)

Wonderful Norwegian book illustrator, famous for his woodprints - also of Scandinavia's supernatural world. In 1958 he illustrated Jonas Lie's story collection Troll.

Here is one of his many troll and tusse creatures hiding behind a tree:

Also check out my blog about the Nix for two prints of that particular creature.

Alfred Schmidt (1858-1938)

A Danish political caricaturist and illustrator. His first trolls from 1915 illustrated a story in a funny magazine about a Norwegian art exhibition in Denmark, where a symphony seemingly made the trolls so scared that they immediately ran home to their Norwegian mountains.

Schmidt also captured trolls' political potential, eg. in the following caricature from 1926 of a Danish trade union leader as an awakening troll getting ready to act against striking workers:

Jan Lööf (born 1940)

From the pixi book The Mountain Trolls' New Home (1976)

The famous Swedish comic book artist and illustrator of childrens' books, Jan Lööf, has also captured the spirit of the peaceful Scandinavian troll in his own very characteristic style. On this Swedish site you can see his story of the mountain trolls who decide to leave their cold caves and move down to the forest, something the forest trolls are not particularly happy about though, but with the help of a witch and the Nixie they build a house in the middle of the lake. Also notice Lööf's friendly but slightly rebellious reference to John Bauer in this frame where this witch chops down the trees in a classic Bauer painting to build the troll's new home:

John Bauer Tuvstarr 1913
Jan LööfJohn Bauer

Maj Fagerberg

Wonderful Swedish illustrator of children's literature, esp. fairytales, who has her own homepage here, but here is a troll mother with her 11 children all tied safely together:

Bo Beskow (1906-1989)

The son of Elsa Beskow, esp. famous for his more experimental art which you can see a few of here, but he was also occupied with trolls in his youth, as in this cover for a collection of troll stories written and illustrated by himself. Note the striking contrast between the soft troll and the sharp geometrical shapes of the townscape and policeman.

Solveig Muren Sanden (1918 -)

Norwegian comic book artist, well-known for her work for the annual album Tuss og Troll that has been published for many decades.

Tove Jansson (1914-2001)

Here are two beautiful examples of this wonderful Finnish-Swedish artist's simple black and white drawings of the Moomin creature, a creature originally invented by her uncle to scare her from going in to the dark basement:


And finally a lovely gouache demonstrating her great colour understanding:

Copyright Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson cooperated with her brother Lars Jansson on the comic book series based on her books. Here is a lovely watercolour of the Moomin troll by him:

Christian Kittelsen

A relative of Th. Kittelsen, but with more talent for the postcard industry than for original troll painting. Here is one of card designs:

Hans Arnold (born 1925)

Hans Arnold, Swiss by birth but living in Stockholm since 1948, has been one of Scandinavia's busiest artists for the last 50 years, also as an illustrator of trolls in the famous Swedish fairytale collection Bland Tomtar och Troll.

Here is one lovely example from his own website that is definitely worth visiting:

(Part of illustration)


Lithography - "I stora stygga skogen" ("In the big dangerous forest")

Arne Bang (1901-1983)

Danish sculpturer and ceramicist, best known for his sculpture of the so-called Fladså-trold in Næstved, Southern Sealand, a troll who was very angry at the loud church bells in the town and decided to drown it in sand, but on his way to the town, the sand fell out of his sack and created a big hill. The troll now guards the town hall.

Brian Pilkington

Icelandic illustrator of British origin, well-known for his illustrations to Icelandic Trolls, that has been translated to many languages.
Here is one example of his cute and funny trolls:

Otto Sinding (1842-1909)

One of the original illustrators of Asbjørnsen and Moe's Norwegian folk tales, though only contributing with one troll picture - from the famous story about the goat and the troll under the bridge. See also Tord Nygren's version of the same motif. Sinding is best known for his oil paintings of landscapes and rural life.

(technique: xylography)

You can see some of Sinding's stunning landscapes here.

Per Krogh (1889-1965)

One of Norway's greatest modern artists and one of the best illustrators of Asbjørnson and Moe's fairy tales:

Boy cutting off Troll's five heads

Mountain Troll

Johan Thomas Lundbye (1818-1848)

Lundbye's alterego, the cavetroll Sindre, shortly before Lundbye went to war and got killed.

Johan Thomas Lundbye, a respected landscape painter, was maybe the first serious Scandinavian artist who became occupied, if not obsessed, with folklore. Having painted many of Denmark's burial mounds from the Bronze Age in a fresh naturalistic style, he became interested in their inhabitants, the hill trolls, with whom he identified in his sketchbooks, Troldom og Hule-Tanker (Magic and Cave Thoughts), reprinted 1955, produced shortly before his far too early death in 1848, only 30 years old, during the war between Denmark and Prussia. He invented the cave troll Sindre as his alterego. Lundbye also illustrated Just Mathias Thiele's collection of Danish folk tales inspired by the Grimm Brothers. Lundbye's troll resemble other artists' elves or pixies, tailless and attractive, wearing a red cap and smoking a pipe, but this may be closer to how trolls were viewed in traditional folklore than how John Bauer and other late-Romantic artists chose to interpret them a few decades later when symbolism reigned. Sindre is however first and foremost Lundbye himself.

Sindre and a Stork

Sindre in the Forest

Sindre and a farm pixie eating porridge

You can see some of his landscape paintings here.

Here is an illustration from J. M. Thiele's Danish Folktales of a "dwarf" borrowing beer and later returning with more beer that brings good luck. Dwarf - troll - nisse, in the folk tales generic distinctions between the supernaturals don't matter, they are just different and powerful.

Hugo Simberg (1873-1917)

This very original Finnish symbolist painter drew, strictly speaking, devils ("pirut"), but they are both physically and functionally quite similar to the trolls of Arosenius and other contemporaries and thus deserve mentioning. Here is one painting of a ring dance:

Ring Dance by Hugo Simberg

And here is a drinking giant in John Bauer's style:

Drinking Giant by Hugo Simberg

Tord Nygren (born 1936)

Very productive Swedish illustrator, recently (2004) of Asbjørnsen and Moe's tales. Especially known for his great watercolour techniques as in the two troll pictures below:

This kind looking troll is from the book Trollringen from 2002:

Inger Edelfeldt (born 1956)

Swedish illustrator and writer of children books, adult books and comic books plus more. Also known for her illustrations of Tolkien's universe. Very intelligent writer and very talented artist. Here are two drawings of her funny trolls, the pink being a "no troll" and the yellow a "yes troll" (both from 2002):

Torbjörn Egner

Fun Norwegian writer and illustrator, the creator of the following two tooth trolls, well-known from Scandinavian television:

Egner Trolls
Lots more to come!

Åke Holm (1900-1980)

Swedish cheramist and graphic artist, lived and worked in Höganäs all his life, developed the so-called Kullatroll in the 1940's, now a popular collector's item. Here are a few examples of his trolls:

Inga Borg (born 1925)

Swedish writer and illustrator, creator of this lovely little troll like creature called Plupp who lives in the far north of Sweden among reindeer and mountains.

Plupp has his own club here (but only in Swedish)

Here is a beautiful ink drawing of the Frost Giant in her beloved Northern Swedish environment:

Hugo Hamilton (1849-1928)

A Swedish poet of nonsense poetry who also drew troll pictures to illustrate some of his funny poems (not translated), found in the book För barn och barnbarn (1925). Here is one example of both his drawing and writing skills (in Swedish):

"Tumpar du i kallimallivandra?"
sa det fõrsta trollet till det andra.
"Nej, men linkelunk har buritörsta",
sa det andra trollet till det första.
Det var inte underligt minsann,
att de inte alls förstod varann!

(In the poem one troll asks a nonsensical question to another troll who then gives an equally nonsensical answer and the poet states he is not surprised at all that the two trolls don't understand each other).

Kaare Espolin Johnson (1907-1994)

Unknown to me but deserves a special blog entry because of this great Sjøtroll - Sea Troll.

He has an art museum in Lofoten, a group of remote Norwegian islands, and is famous in Norway for his graphic representations of the hard life on the Northern coast.

Bjarne Walle (1911-1989)

Well-known Norwegian wood carver, here with a funny beer-drinking troll from the mid-20th century:

Miscellaneous artists

Here I will showcase a few artists or works that I know nothing of:

First a woven tapestry from 1900 by A. Wallander depicting four trolls - a good example of Art Nouveau with its very decorative design.

Next an oil painting by the Swedish artist Tor Bjurström (1888 - 1966) called "Trollet":

And a lovely watercolor by Norwegian Erik Harry Johannessen (1902-1980) of three princesses captured by the trolls:

And finally a Trold painted by the Uruguayan painter Milton Charruti Blanc who escaped to Denmark in the 1980's when this small Scandinavian country still opened its arms to refugees:

That trolls inspire not just fantasy painters but also more abstract painters can be seen in the following contemporary work by the exciting Danish painter Jan Ulrik Friis called "Skovtrolde" (Forest Trolls) from 1994/5:

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)

The great Danish fairy tale writer also did paper cuttings. Here is one of a troll guarded by four soldiers from a picture book he made for a girl called Christine and which you can see here.

Suzette Cathrine Holten (1863-1937)

Danish ceramicist. The ceramic sculpture below from 1888 is called "The Troll Which Emptied the Lake":

Niels Aas (1933-2004)

Norwegian sculpturer famous for his Troll, Kollen-Trollet (2002), outside Oslo:

This troll has its own homepage here

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