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C. J. Tryggs's - Gypsy woman

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Photo of a carving of Gypsy woman.

C. J. Trygg's - Florika the gypsy woman carving
Height 11.5 inches
Price $200

Florika, little flower, the gypsy woman came to America from the old country with her parents to start a new life. They came over during rough times and found things were not much better for them here. They traveled the trains and roads with whatever hobo band they could hook up with.

Florika’s looks may have faded now, but the hobos she meets on the road still remember her younger days and to them she remains little flower.

Trygg Family of Carvers

Carl Johan Trygg, born in 1887 in Skagerhult, Småland, Sweden was one of the recognized masters of twentieth century flat-plane style woodcarving.

He was one of nine children of S. Sgt Carl Oskar Thrygg. He left home when 12 years old to help earn money for his family. He had a number of jobs, he worked as a clockmaker, a shoemaker, he also worked in a laundry, and a logging mill, but in his spare time he carved rough-hewn style figures of people he knew. He married Maria Axelina Andersson in 1909. A year later she gave birth to their first child, a son, Carl Olaf Trygg. In 1915, at the age of 28, he had a show of his carvings in Stockholm, Sweden. After the show he apparently was able to make a living carving full time, later traveling to other European countries to sell his figures.

In March 1928, at age 40 he immigrated to Canada and eventually settled in Montreal. His wife Maria (43), his sons Carl Olof (17) and Nils Johan(13), and his daughter, Kally Maria Trygg (8) arrived in October of the same year. His three sons, Nils, Lars and Carl Olaf were also carvers. Together they carved thousands of figures in the Scandinavian flat-plane style of woodcarving. Their carvings were sold in the lucrative tourist market of the time. Many of their carvings were sold to tourists for approximately $10.00 USD, which adjusted for inflation would be over $100 in 2005.

Another relative, Ellen Trygg also carved figures in the flat plane style. Her pieces are few and far between but the hobo motif is the theme of known pieces.

The Tryggs generally carved solo figures from basswood or pine, and mounted them on a base with two nails. Their flat-plane style characters were done with clean cuts, from a single piece of wood. They painted the characters with bright colors and often painted his character’s clothing in plaid or stripes.

Eventually both Carl Johan Trygg and Carl Olof Trygg returned to Sweden, where they continued their carving careers. Carl Johan died there in 1954 and Carl Olof, based on the dates on his carvings, was producing figures well into the 1980s and died in 1993.

Nils Trygg died in 1951 and the fate of Lars Trygg is unknown.

You may see the following signatures under the base of their woodcarvings:
Trygg or Hand Carved by Trygg - Carl Johan Trygg or Carl Olof, Lars, or Nils
CJ Trygg - Carl Johan Trygg
CO Trygg - Carl Olof Trygg
N. E. Trygg — Nils Trygg
L Trygg – Lars Trygg
Carved by Trygg Jr. — Carl Olof, Lars, or Nils
Most of the carvings are dated and include the location carved, generally Canada or Sweden.


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