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From Copenhagen with Love: A Collection of Fashionable Fairy-Tale Drawings Arrive in Boston

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From Copenhagen with Love: A Collection of Fashionable Fairy-Tale Drawings Arrive in Boston


“Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision”
“As soon as they tugged at the rope, the Captain and the Lieutenant pulled up the Princesses, the one after the other.” Illustration to “The Three Princesses in the Blue Mountain,” from East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Kay Nielsen, 1914. Transparent and opaque watercolor, pen and brush and ink, metallic paint, over graphite.
Promised gift of Kendra and Allan Daniel.

“Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision”
Illustration from East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Kay Nielsen, 1913–1914. Transparent watercolor, pen and ink, gesso and metallic paint, over graphite.

“Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision”
Young woman embracing a thorn bush. Kay Nielsen, about 1910. Pen and brush and ink, transparent and opaque watercolor, over graphite.Promised gift of Kendra and Allan Daniel

“Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision”
Illustration from the Joan of Arc series.
Kay Nielsen, 1914. Transparent and opaque watercolor, pen and brush and ink, metallic paint, over graphite.
Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection

“Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision”
Yearning, from The Book of Death series. Kay Nielsen, 1910. Pen and brush and ink, opaque watercolor, over graphite.
Promised gift of Kendra and Allan Daniel.

“Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision”
Illustration from East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Kay Nielsen, 1913–1914. Pen and ink, over graphite.
Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection

“Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision”
Illustration from East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Kay Nielsen, 1914. Transparent and opaque watercolor, pen and brush and ink, metallic paint, over graphite.
Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection

“Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision”
Illustration from East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Kay Nielsen, 1913. Transparent and opaque watercolor, pen and brush and ink, gesso and metallic paint, over graphite.
Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection

“Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision”
Illustration from “Sir Olaf and the Underworld.”
Kay Nielsen, 1913. Transparent and opaque watercolor, pen and brush and ink, gesso and metallic paint, over graphite.
Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection


Copenhagen Fashion Week has wrapped, but the romantic spirit seen in many of the clothes on and off the runway there—it is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, after all—is also to be found in “Kay Nielsen’s Enchanted Vision” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Born into a theatrical family in Copenhagen in 1866, Nielsen—his first name is pronounced “Kigh”—studied in Paris and spent several years working for Walt Disney in Los Angeles, gaining acclaim along the way for his fantastical story book illustrations. These works are peopled by brave, steed-riding knights and radiant princesses in flowing dresses that look not too different from those that are making headlines this summer. Nielsen’s best-known work is for a collection of Norwegian fairy tales, East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

Diversion from reality must have been very welcome during the onset of World War I in 1914. Present-day sociopolitical upheaval has some seeking escapism through fashion, which can help us imagine other worlds, better selves. When Karl Lagerfeld referenced Nielsen’s East of the Sun and West of the Moon in his Fall 2016 Couture collection for Fendi, he told Vogue’s Nicole Phelps, “I called the show Legends and Fairy Tales because it’s a collection that doesn’t relate to everybody like ready-to-wear, this is very special for people who have a special kind of life.” Talk about escapist #goals….

Inspired by the Nielsen exhibition in Boston, here are six fairy-tale fashion moments to cherish.


Source: Vogue.com