9 June 2004
NIELSEN, Kay. Frontispiece for Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, published London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1924.
Pencil, pen and black ink and watercolor, heightened with silver on board. 14½ x 10½ in. (368 x 267 mm). Matted, framed and glazed.
Kay Nielsen was born in Denmark and, along with Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, is considered one of the great book illustrators of the first quarter of the 20th century. Nielsen was influenced from the start by the more modern styles of Beardsley, Burne-Jones and the influx of Japanese art that was spreading to the West at this time. Another influence, John Bauer, the great Swedish fairy tale artist, show itself in Neilsen's rendering of forests and trees. Nielsen spent more than 10 years working on his illustrations to Andersen's Fairy Tales, while living in Copenhagen and working on stage designs. He and his wife moved to California in the 1930s. There he worked on Disney's Fantasia, providing designs which were featured in the "Ave Maria" and "Night on Bald Mountain" scenes.
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