måndag 7 april 2014

Old friends

The other day I visited the Studio of Bildmakarna Berg. It is maintained by the grandchildren of Folke Wilhelmsson Berg, Gustaf Tenggren's old friend and fellow art student at Valand's School of Art. Nowadays Folke's son, Björn Berg, is probably more well-known to the public, as the illustrator of Astrid Lindgren's Emil i Lönneberga and many other children's books. The Studio keeps all Björn Berg's art.
Maja Berg Lindelöw, next to a self-portrait by her father, Björn Berg.
The Folke Berg family went to USA at about the same time as Gustaf Tenggren, and Björn Berg himself grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He admired Gustaf a lot and during his first years he aspired to work in the same style as his idol. Later he became one of Sweden's foremost newspaper illustrators.
Emma Miller Bolenius and Marion George Kellogg
Mother Goose, Houghton Mifflin 1929
Björn had saved some nice keepsakes from Tenggren, like photos, letters and paintings, which I was lucky enough to be able to borrow. One his dearest was a Mother Goose book that he received at a visit to Gustaf Tenggren's New York flat.
Early morning Christmas Day Mass, 1934.
Painting by Gustaf Tenggren presented to Folke Berg.
Some very nice letters from the Tenggrens are in the collection too, including this nice one, written on Disney stationery (not designed by Tenggren). Mollie is happy to announce that after Gustaf has completed his work for Pinocchio they will go on a vacation to Sweden! Unfortunately, this never happened - Gustaf Tenggren never returned to Sweden, not even to be buried, as he had wished.
Letter from Mollie Tenggren to Folke and Gertrud Berg,
December 2, 1938. 
In 1973, after Gustaf Tenggren was gone, Björn and his family went to visit Mollie in Maine and was guided around the house and got to see Gustaf's kept originals. There were piles and piles of art, all sorted and well preserved for storage.
Home and studio of Gustaf Tenggren, Dogfish Head, West Southport, Maine.
Some nice photos from the home and studio shows a tidy home with a mixture of Tenggren art and antique folk art items from Dalarna in Sweden. In the bookshelf, a yellow row of National Geographics gives a hint of Gustaf's big interest for travels. Too bad none of them included Sweden.

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