Carl Larsson: Self-portrait ( in the new studio), 1912. Malmö Art Museum. Photo: Andreas Nilsson, Malmö Art Museum

From February 10 to April 29, 2012 – Finnish National Gallery

The aim of this beloved Swedish artist was to paint himself into the hearts of his audience. The art of Carl Larsson (1853–1919) and his atelier home in Sundborn have indeed had an enormous impact on the perceptions of Swedes and other Europeans of what constitutes a better everyday life. Carl Larsson’s visual imagery – which owed a great deal also to the input of his wife Karin – has provided the inspiration for light and well-lit interior decoration for generations.

The exhibition at Ateneum focuses on themes related to the home, as well as on the large watercolours that Larsson painted in Gréz-sur-Loing in France which first marked his artistic breakthrough. Filling the entire second floor of the Ateneum Art Museum, the exhibition includes over a hundred paintings. The exhibition also presents Carl and Karin Larsson as designers of furniture and art handicrafts.

Larsson’s guiding principles were light, lightness and joy, even though his own childhood was dark and he was prone to depression. In a way he created his own happiness, and this exhibition invites viewers to consider what in fact constitutes a good life. Factors that connect contemporary viewers to Larsson’s life include the home, the family, a sense of community, children, gardening and interior decoration.

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with the Turku Art Museum, and an accompanying book was published in September 2011. Ateneum’s exhibition Carl Larsson – In Search of the Good Life is curated by Timo Huusko, Curator at the museum, and the exhibition architect is Minna Santakari.

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