Faces of Sundborn: Carl Larsson Portraits in the Parish Hall

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The Carl Larsson Portrait Collection, Carl Larssons porträttsamling, Sundborn, Sweden

The portraits are of local citizens who were involved in keeping village life ticking over.  Larsson painted these ‘fine villagers’ for the parish of Sundborn, and donated the portraits to the village in 1916, with the condition that they remained there and were not moved.  This has clearly been a struggle, with calls for them to be moved to nearby Falun, but ultimately Larsson’s word is still final, so here they stay.  Which is how it should be.

I’ve included the descriptions of the individuals as written in the leaflet we borrowed from the hall.  It was nice to get some background on the personalities who were not just friends of Larsson, but central to the functioning of the village.  And they are fine portraits.

What I think is just wonderful is the fact that I’ve known some of these portraits for decades, but seeing them after visiting Larsson’s house enhanced my appreciation of certain details.  For example, the farmer, Fredrik Forsberg is obviously sitting in front the replica relief of Gustav Vasa on the fireplace in Larsson’s studio (the original is in the National Museum in Stockholm).  Erik Erikkson is also presumably sitting in front of that same fireplace.  I think Gustav Hedström is sitting in the salon beyond the dining room of Larsson’s house, with it’s distinctive flower lamps hanging over the table.

Then, another realisation – Larsson’s self-portrait has a sketch for his ‘Midwinter Sacrifice’, which was his big, life-consuming project (now also in the National Museum).

It’s also cute that there is a painting of some people leaving the church – that’s next door!

So In Summary

Seeing the portraits is an essential part of the ‘Larsson Trail’ in Sundborn.  What more can I say?  You need to see them!

Further Information

The collection is open in the summer for free visits.  If you want to see the paintings at other times, you need to contact them to make an appointment.

The Hall doesn’t have its own website, but it has a page on the Swedish Church site, which seems to be the main one – only in Swedish: www.svenskakyrkan.se

How To Get There

Sundborn is a tiny place, and the Parish Hall is by the church by the lake, going in the opposite direction from the Carl Larsson house.  For information about getting to Sundborn, please check out my post here.

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