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Amazing Free John Bauer Art Prints Of Scandinavian Fairytales

I have curated a wonderful sample of domain free John Bauer art prints.  He was a Swedish painter and illustrator of Scandinavian mythology. 

Bauer is well known for his illustrations of early editions of Bland tomtar och troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls), an anthology of Swedish folklore and fairy tales. 

He got his inspiration from his travels through Lapland, Germany and Italy.  Bauer was particularly influenced by the Italian Renaissance and Sami cultures.

Most of John Bauer’s art are watercolours of prints in monochrome or muted colours. The art and illustrations helped broaden an appreciation and understanding of Scandinavian mythology and landscape.

Bauer tragically died at the young age of 36. Together with his wife Ester and son Bengt, he drowned in a shipwreck on Lake Vättern in southern Sweden.

All the free John Bauer art prints curated here are in the public domain. That is you are free to download them and use them how you please.

To download the Bauer art print you want just click on the title above the print. It should just then automatically download to your device, where you can save it to your hard drive to print at home or send it to an online print company.

1.Freyja – 1905

This stunning 1905 John Bauer art print is painted an art Nouveau style. It is a mythological painting of the Nordic goddess Freyja.

Freyja is probably the most important goddess in Norse mythology. Beautiful and many-functioned, she features heavily as a fertility goddess stemming from her place in the Vanir family of the gods.

If my youngest son was a girl he would have been called Freyja as a nod to his Norwegian heritage. He ended up with the name Fergus as a nod to his Scottish Gaelic heritage. However, his middle name Henrik is very Nordic.

Freyja by Bauer 1905

2. The Princess and the Trolls 1913

This John Bauer art illustration of the Princess and two trolls is from the anthology  Bland tomtar och troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls).

This particular illustration was for the story by Helena Nyblom The Changlings, (Bortbytingarana).

The story is about the troll father who is so taken by the little Princess Bianca Maria that he swaps her with his own troll baby. The children grow up with their new families but never fit in. By the time they are due to get married their situation becomes untenable. They both flee on their wedding day to their original homes and all is put right.

The Princess and the trolls John Bauer art print

3. A Knight Rides On

The blues in this later (1915) painting of John Bauer are stunning.

John Bauer knight print

4.Lena Dances With The Knight

Another colourful John Bauer illustration from the 1915 edition of the anthology  Bland tomtar och troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls).

John Bauer Illustraitons

5. Brother Martin And The Three Trolls

“Broder Martin” is a tale written by Emil Eliasson and published in the 1913 edition of Bland tomtar och troll (Among gnomes and trolls).

Brother St Martin and the 3 trolls

6. John Bauer Art Print – The Kings Cup

The translated text accompanying this John Bauer art print is, ” He led the horse by the bridle and in this way they traveled through the woods ”

The illustration is from the Swedish folktale ” Konungens bägare” (The Kings Cup) published in 1908 and written by Sophie Linge.

The Kings Cup

7. Bauer Illustration – Poor little Basse! 1912

This Bauer art work is from the Swedish folktale “Oskuldens Vandring” (The Walk of The Virgin) by Helena Nyblom.

John Bauer Art Print

8. 1912 The Boy Who Was Never Afraid

A Swedish folktale art print from “Pojken som aldrig var rädd” (The boy who was never afraid) by Alfred Smedberg 1912.

This particular drawing is titled “Nej, sicken liten puttefnasker! Ropade trollet” (No, what little crap! Shouted the troll).

The Boy Who Was Never Afraid

9. John Baur Art – Tuvstarr by the Water – 1913

The caption for this folktale illustration is “Ännu sitter Tuvstarr kvar och ser ner i vattnet” (Yet Tuvstarr is still sitting looking down into the water).

This painting is from the tale “Sagan om äldtjuren Skutt och lilla prinsessan Tuvstarr” (The story of the bull Skutt and little princess Tuvstarr).

The tale is written by Helge Kjellin and published in the 1913 edition of Bland tomtar och troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls).

John Bauer print

10. Humpe in the woods – 1913

This illustration is from the tale “Trollsonen som hade solögon och vart skogsman”, (The troll son who had sunglasses and every woodsman).

Written by Vilhälm Nordin and published in the 1912 edition of Bland tomtar och troll (Among gnomes and trolls).

Humpe in the woods

11. Nilas offer, Julbocken (II)

I don’t know much about this particular Bauer drawing except that it is titled “Nilas offer, Julbocken (II)” (Nila’s victim, Christmas goat).

John Bauer Art Prints

12. Christmas Goat – 1912

Again I don’t have much information about this particular Bauer illustration except that it is titled “Julbock” (Christmas goat).


Gnomes are also very popular in Scandinavian folklore.

Dragons are a popular fairytale theme, here you’ll find a few fairytale images of dragons.

If you liked these fabulous John Bauer illustrations of Scandinavian folk tales then you might like some of these other vintage illustrations on Picture Box Blue, such as the Alphonse Mucha art nouveau women.


Thursday 1st of December 2022

These stir the wonder of childhood. I love them. Thank you so much for sharing.


Friday 2nd of December 2022

Thank you, they are beautifully illustrated stories.


Thursday 1st of December 2022

Really enjoyed this art and the stories today, thank you.


Friday 2nd of December 2022

Thank you, that is lovely to hear.