Kay Nielsen, 1886-1957



Nielsen Lassie

From “The Lassie and her Godmother” in East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

Danish American Kay (pronounced “Kigh”) Nielsen’s watercolor paintings for  Peter Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe’s Norwegian fairy tale collection, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, are perfectly described by his “appreciator,” Welleran Poltarnees:

Nielsen thinks as a stage designer, arranges his world as for an audience through a proscenium arch. His deliberate artificiality is in part the oddness proper to a fairy realm, in part the inevitable result of his temper reacting to the materials, but also, I think, it mimics his love of the stage which later flowered into the designing he did for Copenhagen’s Royal Theater.

Above illustrations are from the title tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.”

Welleran Polternees is the author of Kay Nielsen: An Appreciation (Green Tiger Press, 1976).

(Note: Nielsen is a favorite of mine.  A few years ago, I wrote a more biographical hundred-word post about him.)

About mary grace ketner

My lawyer tells me I should not put the words "Fairy Tale Lobbyist" on my business cards but rather "Representative" and "National Fairy Tale Association." But I'm not, and there isn't one. Even so, I don't think I'm going it alone.

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