Jenny Nyström (1854-1946)
Jenny Nyström is the girl from Kalmar that went to Paris and became one of Sweden's most beloved illustrators.
She was an academically skilled artist in a time when a woman's role was to take care of home and family.
Life before recognition as an artist
The Kalmar girl Jenny Nyström was born on 13 June 1854, when the fruit trees must have been in full blossom. Her childhood in Kalmar was happy, and she would often refer to it in her artistry.
"The sad day came, when I had to move away from Kalmar. I then went and said goodbye to every little thing, so that I would remember them all."
Daniel Nyström, Jenny's father, got appointed head teacher at a school in Gothenburg. In 1862 the family moved there. Back then Jenny was 8 years old, she would remember this time very well. At first, she did not like the new place very much, since she had a hard time finding new friends.
After one year, she attended to a primary school, she made new friends there and began to draw and paint.
She later began to study at The Gothenburg Museum Fine Arts School. Jenny was a good student, and considered as very talented.
She studied hard and got recognized by Albert Ehrensvärd, the County Governor of Gothenburg. He invited her to Stockholm, where she was introduced to highly educated people at the Royal Academy of Liberal Art. (Kungliga Konstakademien)
She made Illustrations to Viktor Rydbergs tale "Little Viggs Adventure on Christmas Eve". The book, with Jenny's Illustrations have since then been printed in at least 15 editions, it has also been translated into several languages. It is safe to say that these illustrations established her life long relationship with the Tomte character.
In 1873 she was admitted as a pupil at the Royal Academy in Stockholm. She studied there for eight years. During this time life was about getting money for rent, food, painting material and payment for the studio.
Jenny met her future husband Daniel Stoopendal during the 1880's. At this time she rented a studio at the Brunkeberg hotel, where she in piece and quiet worked with her artistry.
Languishing for Paris, she had to win the Royal Medal. She portrayed "Gustav Vasa som barn inför kung Hans" (Gustavus Vasa as a Child before King Hans). With this painting, Jenny Nyström received the Royal Medal, together with 2000 Swedish crowns from the Academy's special travel support fund. Finally she could go to Paris.
The big goal in Paris was to exhibit on the Salon, and by that become an acknowledged artist. Jenny worked hard and determined, improving in her artistry. In 1884 Jenny made her first appearance at the Salon with a unique self portrait in oil. Her dreams were fulfilled.