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The life of Th. Kittelsen – Theodor Kittelsen 1857-1914
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Alle innlegg i The life of Th. Kittelsen


The family moved to Huseby in Vestre Aker in 1909, at the edge of Bråten in the district of Jeløya outside Moss.

In 1911, Kittelsen was granted a National Artists’ stipend and in the same year, his autobiography, “Folk og Trold” was published. He followed this in 1912, with “Løgn og forbandet digt”.

Theodor Kittelsen died on 21 January 1914, leaving a widow and nine children.

Guldhornet (1910)

Guldhornet (1910)


Kittelsen painted and drew a great variety of views of Lake Soneren against Mount Andersnatten and the surrounding landscape, which included the series “Tirilil Tove”.

Nisser og dverge, bygger i berge'

Nisser og dverge, bygger i berge’

New adventure series editions also kept him occupied during the Lauvlia years.

A large number of solo exhibitions were held, mainly in Christiania.

As early as 1905, Theodor Kittelsen’s health had begun to deteriorate. In 1907, he received the decorative commission “Fossens Eventyr” from Sam Eyde.

In 1908 he was made Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. In 1909, due to financial difficulties, the Kittelsen family were forced to sell Lauvlia.




Late in the winter of 1891, Kittelsen moved to Hvitsten with his wife and daughter.

He had become popular as an illustrator of books and during 1890-1905 supplied his illustrations to Johan Herman Wessel, Elisabeth Schøyen, Mathias Skeibrok, Theodor Caspari, Hallvard Bergh, amongst others, along with new editions of Asbjørnsen and Moe’s adventure series.

deHis first, solo exhibition was made in the Florasalon in Christiania in October 1893, where his series, “Jomfruland” received its premiere showing – 15 watercolours. His other new series were: ”Glemmebogen” (1892), ”Kludesamleren” (1894), ”Har Dyrene Sjæl” (1892) and “Ordsprog” (1898).

In 1894, he visited Christian Skredsvig in Eggedal for the first time. In the winter of 1896, Inga and Theodor Kittelsen leased the farm Sole at the northern end of Solevatnet. Here he completed the book collection ”Svartedauen”,  which he had begun two years earlier (published 1900).

In 1898, the family bought a plot of land on the hillside south of Soneren in Sigdal and in 1899 built a house with a studio, which they named “Lauvlia”.




In 1881, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen invited Erik Werenskiold and Theodor Kittelsen to supply illustrations for his “Eventyrbog for børn” (“Children’s Adventure Book”), volumes 1-3 (published in 1883, 1884 and 1887).

Self portrait, 1887

Self portrait, 1887

From the autumn of 1881, Kittelsen had a studio in Pultosten, the farm owned by Morgenbladet in Christiania. Having been granted a state scholarship, he journeyed to Paris in the autumn of 1882, here to be inspired both by exhibitions and by other painters before returning to Norway. Then, in the spring of 1883, he returned to Munich.

During the summer of 1887, he went to live with his sister Thea and brother-in-law, Immanuel Schøyen at the Skomvær lighthouse in Lofoten and there he completed his series “Fra Livet i de smaa Forholde” (1889-90), “Fra Lofoten I og II” (1890-91) and “Troldskab” (1892).

Two years after having arrived in Lofoten, he travelled south and met Inga Dahl fra Drøbak, whom he married soon after. The couple settled down in Skåtøy in the autumn of 1889.




Born in Kragerø on 27 April 1857. He was the son of a merchant, Johannes Kittelsen and his wife Guriane Olsdatter Larsen. When his father died in 1868, Kittelsen became apprenticed to a watchmaker in his home town.

In 1870, he moved to Christiania (the present day Oslo) to become a student of a master painter, but resigned from that. He then moved on to Arendal and recommenced his watchmaker apprenticeship. With financial help from Diderich M. Aall and others he began at Wilhelm von Hanno’s Drawing School in Christiania in the autumn of 1874. He also took lessons from Julius Middelthun at The Norwegian National Academy of Craft and  Art Industry.

In 1876, he moved to Munich, studying at the Academy of Arts until 1879 under Professor Ludwig von Löfftz and Wilhelm von Lindenschmit , the Younger.

In 1880, he returned home to Norway where he spent some time in Kragerø.