Norwegian painters

Ivo Caprino (1920-2001)

Norwegian animator (puppeterr).
Here is a retelling of one of the most famous Norwegian fairytales by Asbjørnsen and Moe

Arne Taraldsen (1917 -1989)

Norwegian cartoonist and troll painter

Taraldsen Wall Painting
Wall painting from hotel

Troll Woman

Troll Woman

Troll Family

Hans Normann Dahl (b. 1937)

Norwegian illustrator.

The troll Trym from a book by Linn Stokle about a troll whose father dies after giving his son a gift which is forbidden in the Troll Mountain.

Theodore Kittelsen (1857-1914)

Kittelsen portrait by C. Krogh
One of my favourites is Theodore Kittelsen, a Norwegian artist (1857-1914). Like Bauer and Stilling, Kittelsen also has a museum. Kittelsen grew up and spent most of his life in the Norwegian countryside, struggling with poverty and recognition - which he gained far too late in life. Many of his illustrated stories were not published during his lifetime. Studied in Munich. Norway's first social realist but then moved into naturalism and symbolism with his drawings of landscapes which are deadly, full of loneliness and mystery, but beautiful.His trolls are more complex and moody than John Bauer's as is clear from the pictures below, which is the last troll he ever drew, shortly before his unhappy death, his biggest worry being how his wife and 8 children would survive without his small income. If you are ever in Norway, why not visit his home in Sigdal. At least he is appreciated now long after his death.
The troll below (in two different versions) is pondering just how old he is (we are obviously talking centuries) - perhaps as unhappy about his old age as Kittelsen was in his last years about his lack of success and ageing.

Kittelsen's trolls are never cute and cuddly but represent the dark forces of nature, like the following two forest trolls (Kittelsen was obviously not a happy man):

Here is a more human-looking troll fulfilling his paternal duties (maybe reflecting the fact that Kittelsen had many children):

While here he portrays a different kind of creature, the always grey-clad farm pixie, known for its ability to communicate with farm animals:

"Blakken og tungubben" (The white horse and the farm pixie) (1907)

Kittelsen always dreamt of illustrating the famous Norwegian play by Henrik Ibsen, Peer Gynt, whose main character visits the underworld and the Dovre Gubbe, the troll king. Kittelsen's dream sadly never came true but here is one of his interpretions of the play that Edward Grieg composed the music for:

"Peer and the Dovre Gubbe"

Kittelsen's most famous work is his illustrations for Asbjørnsen and Moe's collection of Norwegian fairy tales - see the Troll Book Shop and the section Troll Writers. Here is one drawing from the stories about Askeladden, a young courageous character about whom many stories exist:

But Kittelsen could also draw other fantasy creatures, like this beautiful dead dragon in mixed technique from 1904 - maybe a subconscious comment on how the artist's own treasures of imagination were never truly appreciated (like these uncollected treasures which the dragon guards even after its death):

And finally a lovely troll sketch from around 1894:

Dagfin Werenskiold (1892-1977)

The son of one of Norway's best troll painters, Erik Werenskiold, Dagfin Werenskiold was a busy illustrator who followed in his father's footsteps, painting the Norwegian countryside including its supernatural inhabitants. As in this dramatic illustration of a troll killing. Like his father, Dagfin also illustrated Asbjørnsen and Moe's Norwegian fairytales. Notice that Norwegian trolls are often quite big, exceeding the size of Swedish and Danish trolls.

Dagfin Werenskiold Troll Killing

Troll Sculpture, Fløjen, Bergen

Who is the artist behind this lovely troll sculpture which sits on the top of Fløjen Mountain in Bergen, Norway?

Floejen Troll, Bergen, Norway

Nils Bergslien (1853-1928)

Norwegian painter/illustrator with his own museum here who drew Norwegian pixies and trolls like Dovre Gubben below, the famous troll said to reside in the Dovre Fjell in the cold interior of mid-Norway and whom Henrik Ibsen invented in his play Peer Gynt. This troll looks quite similar to Bergslien's pixies and very different from later Norwegian trolls:

And here's a painting from 1877 called "Matauk hos trollen" or "Food gathering among the trolls":

Andreas Bloch (1860-1917)

Norwegian illustrator and painter, esp. of military subjects. But he also worked for various funny magazines and although obscure in comparison to Bauer, Kittelsen and Moe, his trolls are very original. Birger Sivertsen does however mention in "For noen troll" (2000) that Kittelsen once expressed surprise that Bloch had been given a commission to draw trolls, saying to his daughter : "Bloch draw trolls? But he has never seen any!" Kittelsen is known to have said the same about the other major Norwegian troll painter Erik Werenskiold. It is thus tempting to conclude that Kittelsen felt a strong sense of ownership towards trolls. Only his vision was a true representation.

First a troll receiving electrical treatment (to cure its temperament?):

Electrified troll by Andreas Bloch

Then a troll shouting:

Shouting troll by Andreas Bloch

Then a lovely ink wash of a very sad troll:

Crying Troll by Andreas Bloch

A very thirsty troll:

Thirsty Troll by Andreas Bloch

Then a troll looking into a house:

And finally a troll escaping into his cave:

Ridley Borchgrevink (1898-1981)

Exciting British-born Norwegian illustrator from the first part of the 20th century who did many troll drawings like the one below of a woman mistreating a changeling in the hope that the troll woman who has taken her baby, will return it to save her own troll baby from further abuse.

Christian Skredsvig (1854-1924)

Norwegian painter, friend of Erik Werenskiold. Not a troll painter and never illustrated Asbjørnsen and Moe's fairy tales, but did a few times touch upon the world of trolls, especially in the work Valdresvisa from 1895, where he captured the dramatic side of trolls through his sketchy line and soft colours:

Albert Jærn

Norwegian illustrator and graphic artist, active before World War II, here with a graphically strong version of Asbjørnsen and Moe's classic fairy tale The Three Billy Goats Gruff:

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.

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.

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.

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:

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

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!

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:

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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