Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Johan August Malmström (Sweeden, 1829-1901)

Figure 1.--This is 'Grindslanten' by Johan August Malmström (1829-1901). He painted it in 1885, repotedly in Rotebro, a village near Stockholm. It shows a group of fighting boys after shool. Notice what looks like sailor caps (we seem to see streamers) on the ground. We are not sure what the gate fences off. In this painting, as in many other such images as well as the photographic record, we note how common it was for children to go barefoot. We do not seelight footwar in Europe until after the turn-of-the 20th century. The children went barefoot or wore boots, leather or wooden shoes. We have the first evidence of sandals about 1910. They were first work by children from walthy families. .

Johan August Malmström was born in Bastra Ny, Östergötland (1829). He was a Swedish artist and his engraver known best for his genre work. He also did landcapes, portraits, and historical themes. Malmström served as a professor at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts and later manager of the Academy. Based on his genre Malmström be seen as a kind of Swedish Norman Rockwell. He commonly featured rural children in his genre work. Thus he provides wonderful images of country life and the clothes that the country children wore. He created ome of the best know images of l9th century Sweden. The piece that he is best known for his 'Grindslanten' (figure 1). Grinden means gate on Swedish and lant means country so it means something like country gate. Apparently it is the gate or entrance to the farm and red house in the background of the painting. The painting depicts a group of children after school. The boys as they are apt to do have gotten into a real whale of a fight, although we are not sure what set them off. Do I see a boy picking up a penny? Or could it be a picnic gone bad. A girl has spilled her berries. One art critic says that Malmström was influenced by the national romanticism of Gothicismus. Gothicism / Gothism was a Swedush cultural movement based on Sweden's Germanic ancestors. The Scandinavians ere essentily northern Germanic tribes. Apparently Goths were chosen because to say German would ixentify too closely with the rising German Empire. Malmström was as a result interested in Norse mythology and drew a number of illustrations with Norse themes. He did illustrations for several newspapers and book publishing houses. He had many interets besides painting and drawing. He designed furniture, worked as a pattern drawer, and was a designer for Gustavsberg, an important Swedish porcelain company.


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Created: 12:32 AM 2/23/2016
Last updated: 4:05 AM 2/23/2016