Norwegian Fairy Tales Come Alive in a New Illustrated Book

Kay Nielsen’s classic and previously unseen works emerge in color in 'East of the Sun and West of the Moon.'

by Anya Tchoupakov
17 November 2015, 6:30pm

Images courtesy TASCHEN

In 1914, Norwegian folklorists Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe published a collection of 15 fairy tales that they had gathered on their journeys around Norway in the mid-nineteenth century called East of the Sun and West of the Moon. The accompanying illustrations by Danish artist Kay Nielsen became something of legend, setting a bar that would later be achieved by The Little Prince and Babar the Elephant.

This month, publisher TASCHEN Books is set to release a reprint of the book that features 46 illustrations, including details from Nielsen’s rare original watercolors and dozens of previously unseen artworks, as well as three accompanying essays exploring the life and times of the illustrator, the stories that led to the creation of the book, and the genesis of Norwegian folklore. The 168-page book is hardcover, protected by an ornate slipcase and adorned with a ribbon bookmark. Check out select pages below:

Click here to order a copy of Kay Nielsen: East of the Sun and West of the Moon from TASCHEN Books. 


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East of the Sun and West of the Moon
Fairy Tale
Jørgen Engebretsen Moe
Kay Nielsen
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen