Carl Larsson (1853-1919)

Confidence, 1884

Ink on cream paper., H. 0.25 mm; W. 0.20 mm

Signed, located et dated lower right: C.L./Paris 1884.
Inscribed on the back: 523.

Provenance: Private collection, France.


Louis Ulbach, L’espion des écoles, Paris, 1885, p. 273 (one of 27 illustrations of this book).

At the age of thirteen, Carl Larsson was admitted at the Swedish Royal Academy. He then started his career as an illustrator. In 1876 he went to Paris and tried to make himself a living with his paintings, without great success. From 1878 to 1880 he worked in Stockholm as an illustrator, but then got settled again in Paris. He spent his summers with a Swedish painter community in Grez sur Loing near Paris. There he met in 1882 his future wife Karin Bergöö, who was a painter herself. In Grez sur Loing Larsson did some of his greatest works, watercolours done outdoor.

The Swedish publisher Bonnier published books written by Larsson containing reproductions of his watercolours. In 1909 Karl Robert Langewiesche published Das Haus in der Sonne, with texts and illustrations by Larsson. This book was rapidly a best seller in Germany: 40 000 were sold and more than 40 editions came out till 2001. Larsson was one of the first authors in Sweden doing comic strips.

Larsson also went to Italy to learn how to paint frescos. He did several frescos in public monuments in Stockholm and considered them as his most important works.

The present drawing was done during his stay in Paris. It is one of twenty-seven illustrations for Louis Ulbach’s L’espion des écoles published in 1885 in Paris.

We would like to thank Marianne Nilsson for her kind assistance in cataloguing this drawing.