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 Elsa Maartman Beskow  (1874 - 1953)

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Lived/Active: Sweden      Known for: children's book illustration

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Lillebrors segelfärd. Bilderbok av Elsa Beskow. Med musik av Alice Tegnér (set of 12)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Elsa Beskow (née Maartman) was a Swedish author and illustrator of children's books. Among her better known books are Tale of the Little Little Old Woman and Aunt Green, Aunt Brown and Aunt Lavender.

Her parents were businessman Bernt Maartman (1841–1889), whose family came from Bergen, Norway, and Augusta Fahlstedt (1850–1915). Beskow studied Art Education at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (then called Tekniska skolan, or the Technical school) in Stockholm.

She married former minister and social worker, doctor of theology Natanael Beskow in 1897. Elsa Beskow met her future husband at Djursholms samskola while serving as a teacher where he served as head master. From 1900 they lived in Villa Ekeliden in Djursholm which had initially been built for the author Viktor Rydberg. They had six sons, including the artist Bo Beskow (1906–1989) and geologist Gunnar Beskow (1901–1991).

In 1894 Beskow started to contribute to the children's magazine Jultomten. Overall, she would publish some forty books with her own text and images. Beskow frequently combined reality with elements from the fairy tale world. Children meet elves or goblins, and farm animals talk with people. Central themes were the relationships between children and adults and children's independent initiative.

Beskow became one of the most well known of all Swedish children's book artists. Many of her books became classics and are continually reprinted. Beskow also illustrated ABC books and songbooks for Swedish schools. Book pages are often framed by decorative framework of the Art Nouveau style.

Selected works
    •    Tale of the Little Little Old Woman, 1897
    •    Children from Solbacka, 1898
    •    Peter in Blueberry Land, 1901
    •    Olle's ski trip, 1907
    •    Children of the Forest, 1910
    •    Pelle’s New Suit, 1912
    •    Flower Festival in the Hill, 1914
    •    George's book, 1916
    •    Aunt Green, Aunt Brown and Aunt Lavender, 1918
    •    Little Lasse in the garden, 1920
    •    Baby Brother's sailing journey, 1921
    •    Bubble Muck, 1921
    •    Grandma's quilt, 1922
    •    Christopher's harvest time, 1923
    •    Aunt Brown’s Birthday, 1925
    •    Jan and all his friends, 1928
    •    Hat Cottage, 1930
    •    Grandma and-down Light, 1930
    •    Around the year, 1931
    •    The Sun Egg, 1932
    •    Woody, Hazel & Little Pip, 1939
    •    Talented Annika, 1941
    •    Uncle Blue's New Boat, 1942
    •    Peter and Lotta's Adventure, 1947
    •    Red bus, green car, 1952


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