When it comes to children’s book illustrators, England had Arthur Rackham, France had Edmund Dulac and Denmark had Kay Nielsen.
The Danish illustrator lived from 1886-1957, during the “Golden Age of Illustration.” Nielsen was born in Copenhagen to a very artsy family. He studied art in Paris from 1904 - 1911 then lived in England until 1916. After that he moved to New York, then back to Denmark.
Nielsen did illustrations for many popular works including Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Old Tales from the North (East of the Sun West of the Moon) and Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales. He was also involved in Disney’s Fantasia. In addition, he worked on stage scenery for the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen. The art movement he is considered to be apart of is Art Nouveau.
These images above I personally scanned from a book my teacher lent me, I believe it was the “Old Tales from the North” book.
Kay Nielsen’s final years became depressing. Out of desperation, he returned to his homeland of Denmark. Nielsen’s work was not in demand anywhere and he lived out the remainder of his life in poverty. After his death, his wife, Ulla, passed his works onto Frederick Monhoff, who tried to donate them to museums yet none would take them at the time.