The elegant composition captures a quiet moment of needlework in the so-called "Workshop" at Lilla Hyttnäs in Sundborn. The room in question originally served as a studio before the new larger (Sweden's largest in its time) studio was inaugurated on New Year's Eve 1899. When the new studio was ready, Karin Larsson moved in with her looms in the old space which was named "the Workshop". The room, which also served as a living room for the whole family, is still today dominated by a yellow mother-of-pearl panel and green carpentry. The decor is both headstrong and practical. In the far corner, for example, Karin set up a workplace with a sewing machine on a podium, for her to keep an eye on children playing outdoors through the windows, while she created her textiles.
The depicted girl is Anna Sjögren, born in Sundborn. Her sister Hilma Kvarnberg ran Spadarvet's farm for Carl Larsson together with her husband Erik. According to Carl Larsson's biographer Ulwa Neergaard, it is probably Suzanne's dowry chest that is being hemmed. Carl and Karin Larsson's daughter Suzanne was about to marry the young doctor Petrus Ranström. The wedding took place on 31 August 1911. The flower arrangement with narcissus lilies and willow cushions, however, suggests that the motif was made in the spring, probably in May. This indicates that they started working on it in good time. It was, in other words, a brand new work of art that Carl Larsson sent to Düsseldorf, where it was part of his collection at the "Internationale Aqvarellenausstellung" in May of that year.
The elegant watercolour was initially a part of Chamberlain Harald Bildt's collections. According to notes in Carl Larsson's preserved cash book, Bildt acquired the watercolour in June 1912 by returning an earlier work by the artist ("Sitting naked girl"), which Bildt acquired four years earlier. In order for the deal to go "evenly up", Bildt also had to pay SEK 800 as a difference.
The watercolour then hung in Bildt's apartment on Strandvägen 7B in Stockholm, for a number of years. Bildt himself decorated the apartment and in "Swedish homes in words and pictures" he writes: "The apartment now seems to me very much a part of myself". The watercolour was placed in the salon, which was described by Bildt as follows: "Between the writing room and the hall is the apartment's most beautiful and well-thought-out room, the cabinet or salon, a symphony in green, grey and gold. The matte gold colour of the walls forms a calm and grateful background for colourful watercolours by Egron Lundgren, Georg von Rosen (a delightful youth work from 1865, which has been in my family uninterruptedly ever since), Carl Larsson and Oskar Bergman".
Estimate: 5,000,000 - 7,000,000 SEK / 489 716 - 685 602 EUR
Bukowskis Important Winter Sale
Viewing 4 – 9 december, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm, Opening hours: Mon–Fri kl 11–18, Sat–Sun kl 11–17
Auction 10 – 11 December, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm