About John

John Bauer (4 June 1882 – 20 November 1918) was a Swedish painter and illustrator born and raised in the small town Jönköping at the south of lake Vättern. In the midst of the fairy kingdom where many people of that time believed in elves and trolls. This became John Bauer’s inspiration and inner home that he always longed for and whose deep forest he was dependent on.

In young age he travelled alone to Stockholm to study at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts where he met the artist Ester Ellqvist, a girl who loved the big city life with its parties and lounges, whom he married in 1906 and who became his fairy princess. Ester’s letters depicting their romantic relationship’s initial ecstasy to its debilitating downfalls where the constant divorces and restarts in no way prepares you for the ending.

His illustrations and paintings broadened the understanding and appreciation of Swedish folklore, fairy tales and landscape.

John Bauer was awarded the medal of honor at San Francisco World exhibition 1915. “The Mountain King”- title surges from an idea by the Russian choreographer Michail Fokin at Swedish Royal Opera, to create an opera inspired by Bauer’s paintings.

Bauer’s pictures continue to be popular at art auctions. At a sale in 2014, one of Bauer’s small gouaches, Humpe in the Troll Forest, sold for 563,500 kronor (about US$87,000), and a watercolor, A Knight Rode Forth, made 551,250 kronor (c. US$85,100).