The Goose Girl: Images, Illustrations, Paintings & More
The Goose Girl is one of the classic fairy tales from the famous collection by brothers Grimm. While it’s not in top demand at the moment, it definitely got its share of popularity in the past and it is constantly adapted in different media. We’ll focus only on graphic material which is in Public Domain in European Union (author is dead 70 years or more) and United States of America (published before 1923).
All presented material is available for free, but be aware – copyright laws may widely vary in different countries. If you need a specific image from the Goose Girl for any on-line project, a link to this post would be very much appreciated. There are hundreds of hours invested in searching, editing and checking each of the pictures from the story of Goose Girl, but mistakes are still possible. If you find any, please, send us a note through the comment section.
There are three major scenes in the fairy tale about the goose maiden which inspired the artists in last centuries:
- Confrontation between the princess (who later became a goose girl) and her servant (who later became a false princess)
- Almost hypnotic talk of horse’s head (his name is Falada and so is also called several versions of The Goose Girl) to his lady, who lost everything but her word.
- The scene with the goose girl combing her hair, in most cases with a boy trying to catch his hat somewhere in the background.
We’ll divide all pictures in these three categories, but, of course, some of the artists decided to use more than one (with a record of nine illustrations!), so we’ll have a section for the series (consisting of at least two illustrations made by the same author) too. Because goose girls (real ones and imaginary) inspired painters who didn’t try to portray the fairy tale, but definitely made an impact on the ones who did, we’ll start with several paintings of the goose girls.
Goose Girl Paintings
Antoni Grammatyka (1844-1921) was a Polish painter, who mostly worked in Krakow and its neighborhood. Rural scenes were among his favorites and this is one of them.
Jean-Francois Millet (1814-1875) was a member of Realism movement and he loved rural scenes too. Around 1850-60 he made several paintings of goose girls and next one belongs among them.
Valentine Cameron Prinsep (1838-1904) made next oil painting on canvas in 1900. He was Pre-Raphaelit and often called Val Prinsep. Apart from being successful painter he also wrote two theater plays and two novels.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) was a specialist for paintings of young peasant girls. This barefoot shepherdess is a fine example. The original is hanged in Herbert F. Johnson’s Museum of Art at Cornell University.
Next painter was born in the part of Hungary which is part of today’s Romania. He studied in Germany and France, lived in Poland, but traveled a lot to England and Italy. He won many gold medals at exhibitions in Europe and America. Many influences resulted in a distinguished style, which can be felt in numerous portraits and pastoral scenes by Teodor Axentowicz (1859-1938).
Next painting is very likely the most dark and intense among all in this post. It’s made by Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907). She was a pioneer of modern art in Europe and one of the most important representatives of early impressionism.
We could go on and on, but we’ll end this section of paintings of goose girls with two works of another fan of shepherdesses of geese. This is Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist. He made several works on this theme and here are two of different ages: young and grown-up goose girl.
Illustrations from The Goose Girl, the Fairy Tale
As we already promised, we’ll divide illustrations in three sections.
1. The Refusal
It’s the scene, where the servant denies princess’ command and challenges the established order in society.
Hermann Vogel (1854-1921) was an established artist working mainly for Braun & Schneider.
2. Talking Head of Falada
The scene with a talking head of a dead horse is is the weirdest in this particular fairy tale and one of the most weird ones in literature for children.
Edward Henry Wehnert (1813-1868) opted for the scene with the head of the talking horse in Grimm’s Fair Tales from 1853.
3. Golden Hair
Gold is a proof of royal status and plays crucial role in many fairy tales. At The Goose Girl girl’s golden hair initiates king’s investigation which eventually leads to the disclosure of servant’s deception.
The first illustration of Goose Girl for German market was made by Ludwig Emil Grimm (1790-1863), younger brother of more famous authors Jakob and Wilhelm. The picture above was published in 1825, two years after George Cruikshank’s version.
Anne Anderson (1874-193?) illustrated Goose Girl for the collection of Grimms’ fairy tales for Children’s Press in London.
Eugen Klimsch (1839-1896) made this illustration in 1853. It’s interesting to note how the princess seeks some kind of shelter, trying to get a bit of privacy.
The picture of goose girl above is signed by legendary George Cruikshank (1792-1878). It has a very special status – it’s the first edition translated in English language. It was published under the title German Popular Stories and consisted of two volumes (1823 and 1826), just like the first edition in German language (1812-1815).
Heinrich Lefler (1873-1919) was Austrian painter who worked a lot with Joseph Urban (1872-1933) who was his brother in law. The picture above was made in 1905.
Heinrich Vogeler (1872-1942) made this illustration in 1907. We can consider his work as part of Art Nouveau style.
Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863-1935) is one of the greatest illustrators of all times. This illustration was made between 1920 and 1930. Like many color prints of those times it was printed separately from the rest of the (black and white) book and inserted later on places planned for color plates.
Johnny B. Gruelle with real name John Barton Gruelle (1880-1938) is more known as creator of Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy, but he illustrated his share of Grimm’s fairy tales. The picture above is from 1914 edition, published by Cupples & Leon, New York.
Louis Rhead (1857-1926) illustrated Grimm’s Fairy tales for 1917 edition for Harper & Bros, New York.
Ludwig Pietsch (1824-1911) was not only successful painter and illustrator, but writer as well. It’s interesting to note he was at some point one of the most important fashion critics in Europe!
Paul Friedrich Meyerheim (1842-1915) was a specialist for animal paintings. The picture of goose girl combing her golden hair doesn’t contain geese only but the horse’s head as well. This illustration was published in 1890 by C. Bertelsmann in New York.
Philipp Grot Johann (1892) illustrated The Goose Girl for 1893 edition. It’s the only picture with her hair plaited in a braid. He unfortunately died before the project was finished and published, Robert Leinweber (1845-1921) added many illustrations of his own. There were 180 illustrations by them altogether!
William Henry Margetson (1861-1940) was best known as a painter of women and The Goose Girl is one of his typical works. He illustrated several other fairy tales by brothers Grimm as well.
Elizabeth Curtis (1873-1946) was an American painter. We don’t have much info about her, so it would be very welcome to send us a note about her life and work in the comment section. The illustration above was made in 1917.
Willy Kurt Reinhold Juttner (1886-1940) made the picture above in 1921. With this we conclude the section of illustrations, where the golden hair plays the main role.
More Pictures of The Goose Girl – Different Scenes
This section has several illustrations which were published as single illustrations, but don’t belong to any of the major three scenes, which dominated among artists who illustrated The Goose Girl.
Elenore Abbott (1875-1935) made the picture above. It’s a big mistery to me and I am not even sure if it portrays The Goose Girl. If it does, it’s definitely the only one with the moon in the scene.
This is the only color picture of very important scene from The Goose Girl we managed to find in Public domain. It shows a farewell of the princess who will be on her own in a few moments. And we all know she wasn’t very successful until the king found a way of helping her.
Series of Pictures from The Goose Girl by Different Illustrators
Let’s start with the legendary Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). Next three pictures portray all three major scenes, but were made in different years for different projects.
Next series of illustrations is the longest of all in this post (for now). Illustrator is Charles Robinson (1870-1937), illustrations belong to The Big Book of Fairy Tales, published in 1911 by Blackie & Son in London. Nine illustrations (one decorative capital letter included) end with the scene of cruel punishment of the false princess.