SHEER HAPPENSTANCE, is how I found 'East of the Sun and West of the Moon - Old Tales From the North' on Amazon. I was poking around and seriously, it just appeared. I really think Nordic fairies and tomtes were leading me to this book.
KAY NIELSEN, an art god of some kind, is revered as one of the best of the best of the best, ranked amongst fairy tale art legends like Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac -- and I had never heard of him until just recently. I feel like an ignoramus. His first illustrated work of fairy tales was published in 1913, and he was heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, as well as his Danish ancestry - his father was a theater director and his mother was a performer, and his first career as an artist was as a set and costume designer.
Later in his career, Nielsen worked for Walt Disney and created art for the movies 'Fantasia' and 'Sleeping Beauty', as well as developing concept art for 'The Little Mermaid', which didn't emerge onto the screen until 1989. He was let go from Disney studios, and he eventually faded into obscurity and poverty, finding work as a muralist and a chicken farmer before his death in 1957. In the 1970's, his work became noticed once more, and Nielsen's modern aesthetic and highly original style became heralded as genius from the golden age of illustration.
To sum up - Kay Nielsen = some kind of wizard. Apparently when his version of 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon' was first published, it was immediately hailed as a masterpiece.
The END PAPERS (see above) look like wallpaper from a Scandinavian castle - it's rendered in black and gold, and it's incredible.
There's a ton of stories, including 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon' (MY FAVORITE FAIRY TALE), 'The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain', 'The Lad Who Went to The North Wind', 'The Blue Belt', 'The Giant with No Heart in His Body' (LOVE that story!), and lots of others that I had never heard of before.
There's another section of the book that discusses how shortly after the turn of the century, artwork in picturebooks became as important, or more so, than the the literary content - at a certain point, these types of fairytale books and the art created for them became too valuable to be given to children - they were given as gifts passed between adults, and the artists had their works shown in galleries after the books were published.
That price is stupid crazy insane.
I'm not putting this treasure on a bookshelf. It's going to be out, on my front table, where I can look through it all the time! Julia and I will read any of the stories she wants to read. I wish you could have seen me opening this up when it came in the mail. I was FLOORED when I saw it, absolutely stunned into silence, for once.
If you're a book lover and collector, especially of fairy tales.....you're just going to LOSE YOUR MIND when you get this in your hands. The publishers of this magical collection are getting such a mental high five from me right now. The BACK of the book has an amazing illustration on it.
I think it's the most beautiful book I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of books.