Simplicissimus art by Olaf Gulbransson
'Ski Häsin daheim' (Simplicissimus #36, 3 December 1933).

Olaf Gulbransson was born in 1873 in Christiana (later: Oslo), Norway as the son of a book printer. He became a caricaturist and, from 1890 on, his work was published in several Norwegian satirical magazines, such as Pluk, Tyrihans, Trangviksposten, Paletten and Fluesoppen. In 1896, magazine Simplicissimus was founded by Albert Langen and Thomas Theodor Heine, and Gulbransson became one of its most important contributors.

Simplicissimus art by Olaf Gulbransson
Simplicissimus #13, 1914

Gulbransson married in 1897 and had two daughters. In 1900, he traveled to Paris to study at the Academy Cola Rossi. His work was exhibited on several occasions. Olaf Gulbransson moved to Munich, Germany in 1906. He divorced, and remarried Grete Jehly, daughter of painter Jakob Jehly, with whom he had a son.

From Simplicissimus, by Olaf Gulbransson
Simplicissimus (1914).

In 1916, Gulbransson was drafted into the military, but soon he was placed in the department of propaganda in Berlin, where he became a member of the Arts Academy. In 1922, he divorced again and remarried a year later with Dagny Björnson, niece of the Norwegian poet Björnstierne Björnson.

Es war Einmal, by Olaf Gulbransson (1934)
'Es war Einmal' (1934).

Gulbransson became professor at the State Art School in Munich and his work was exhibited on several occasions and published in numerous newspapers, such as Tidens Tegn. In 1933, the Art Academy in Berlin held an exhibition in honor of his 65th birthday, but it was closed two days after it opened, ordered by the leader of the NSDAP. Gulbransson continued to work for Simplicissimus at the point when it became a national-socialist propaganda magazine in the 1933, until the final issue in 1944. At this point, the magazine satirized France, Britain and the USA, just like the old days of World War I.

Final issue of Simplicissimus, by Olaf Gulbransson (13/9/1944)
Cover illustration for the final issue of Simplicissimus (13 September 1944). The cartoon depicts Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill carrying a blood-stained Earth. 

Despite working for a Nazi propanganda magazine during World War II, Gulbransson remained a celebrated artist until his death on 18 September 1958, at the age of 86. He is the grandfather of comic artist Jan Gulbransson.

Olaf Gulbransson was a strong influence on Wolfgang Hicks, Dmitry Moor and Richard Yeend. In 2004 the artists Lars Fiske and Steffen Kverneland published the book 'Olaf G.', a retrospective comic book about Olaf Gulbransson.

Es war Einmal, by Olaf Gulbransson (1934)
Book cover of 'Es War Einmal'.

Series and books by Olaf Gulbransson you can order today:


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