"Born in 1882 in Sweden, Bauer studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. In 1904, he illustrated his first book, Lappland, but in 1907 he began work on a series of Christmas annuals that would make him famous. Bland Tomtar Och Troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls) is a Swedish tradition, beginning in 1907 and continuing to this very day. I’m afraid I don’t speak Swedish, so I can’t speak for the folk tales Bauer is illustrating, but the illustrations are stunning.
Bauer had a way with trolls… they are grotesque, yet appealing. The simple, yet elegant compositions conveyed the essence of the image clearly with a sense of humor that both children and adults could understand. His style influenced generations of artists from Gustaf Tenggren (who took over the Bland Tomtar Och Troll series after Bauer’s death in a shipwreck in 1918), Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and Kay Nielsen to Brian Froud and Jim Henson (The Dark Crystal).
Very little information on Bauer exists outside of his native country of Sweden. There is a museum dedicated to his work in the city where he was born." - quote source from this article on Bauer by Stephen Worth, director of ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive.
"Bauer suffered from depression and self-doubts. By 1918 his marriage was falling apart, divorce was being discussed, and the world was at war. John and Esther, and their two-year old son, Bengt or Putte, were on their way to a new home in Stockholm, where John hoped for spiritual renewal and a new life for himself and his family. In the wake of the recent well-publicized train accident of Getå, John booked their return to Stockholm on a ferry, the Per Brahe steamer. John Bauer died in the shipwreck of Per Brahe along with Ester and Bengt." - quote source