Simplicissimus art by Olaf Gulbransson
Ski Häsin daheim (Simplicissimus #36, 3/12/1933)

Olaf Gulbransson was born in Christiana (later: Oslo), Norway in 1873 as the son of a book printer. He became a caricaturist and his work was published in several Norwegian satirical magazines, such as Pluk, Tyrihans, Trangviksposten, Paletten and Fluesoppen from 1890. 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

He married a year later 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, he 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)

He 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)
Final issue of Simplicissimus (13/9/1944)

Despite this, he 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. 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)

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