måndag 16 augusti 2021

Gustaf Tenggren, the toddler

Just recently, I had the pleasure to receive this photo. It may look as an average 120-year old family group photo, but it is probably the first image ever showing Gustaf Tenggren together with his siblings, and of Gustaf himself  at that. 

Here we see Gustaf's mother Augusta along with her six children. The family father, Aron Enoch, is not present, reason unknown. 

The persons are:
On top, Olga Natalia b. 1888, and Anna Teresia b. 1886.
In front of them Ester Konstantia b. 1892 and  Agnes Olivia b. 1894.
Sitting in front, Erik Sigurd b. 1890 and deceased in 1897 from diphtheria. This is the only photo I have ever seen of him, possibly the only existing. It has been said that he was artistically gifted and carved little figures of wood like his grandfather, Johan Teng. 
And on mom’s lap, Gustaf Adolf b. 1896. Gustaf is barely a couple of months old. You can see that he does not want to sit still in front of the camera. 
Although not dated, the image can actually be quite accurately placed in time. The photo must have been taken some time in between Gustaf’s birth November 3, 1896 and Erik’s death on January 30, 1897. 
The following year, in 1898, the family would move to Gothenburg, where Gustaf's younger brother, Gunnar, was born in 1899. 

torsdag 12 augusti 2021

Silverware ads turned into pirate story book

During his first years in New York in the 1920ies, Gustaf Tenggren was fastly reaching a position as one of the most sought-after illustrators. Many of the advertisement commissions had a historical or mythological connection, and Gustaf Tenggren was a master at rendering historical clothing and props. Starting in 1926, Rogers Bros Silverware company hired Gustaf for a series of ads, depicting pirates hunting for treasuries, led by a young woman as their pirate queen. In 1927, a brochure was produced in the form of a story book, illustrated with a number of Gustaf's paintings used for the ads and with new pages to accompany them. The book is small, only 11x16 centimeters, but still quite powerful, especially the imposing cover. Here is the total set of spreads. Ahoy!