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Emil Carlsen Art

American, 1853-1932

Regarded today as one of the more prominent artists of the late 19th Century, Emil Carlsen spent many years as a penniless painter on the fringes of the art world, while he continued developing his still-life painting techniques that would take the rest of the art world several decades to fully appreciate.

Born Soren Emil Carlsen in Copenhagen around 1853, Carlsen first began his studies at the Royal Danish Academy as a teenager. Yet he was not to remain long there, leaving in 1872, at nineteen years old for America where he settled in Chicago, working for an illustration house to support himself.

By 1875, he had saved enough money to travel to both Paris and Copenhagen to paint and study, staying for six months before returning to America, this time to New York. By this time he had already developed a unique love affair with the still life. In New York he befriended fellow painters such as John Francis Murphy; yet the city could not contain him, and after only a year he relocated to Boston, where he developed a life-long friendship with Childe Hassam.

Carlsen remained quite poor throughout his time in Boston where he spent the next eight years. Yet his abilities were developing quite rapidly in still life painting, in a style which scholars refer to as "kitchen still lifes." These were still life scenes that often included fish or birds along with pots and pans which gave implied presence of the cook outside the frame, giving them a more human element than most still life subjects. This style very much echoed the work of the Dutch and Spanish Masters of still life, particularly that of Jean Simeon Chardin and, to a lesser degree, Johannes Vermeer. The similarity is not coincidental, as Carlsen spoke and wrote often of the influence of these artists on his own work, and yet he was already beginning to develop the eye for color, light and composition that today we regard as the undeniable Carlsen style.

It was not until the 1910's and 20's that Carlsen began to really benefit financially from his painting, even though he'd already had the respect of his fellow artists all along. Despite his long career and his wide travels, he left few written accounts of his travels, and thus there are many in his biography that historians have tried to reconstruct. He often abandoned certain traits only to pick them up again before finally discarding them as he honed his style and his eye. The result is evidence of an artistic meditation that progressed with consistency and caution.

Carlsen's death in 1932 was at the height of his popularity, and he left behind an admirable body of work in which he had redefined the cerebral and metaphysical effects a still life can have on a viewer.

(Biography provided by Helicline Fine Art)
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Artist: Emil Carlsen
"A Man in His Garden," Emil Carlsen, Backyard and Barn Impressionist Landscape
By Emil Carlsen
Located in Larchmont, NY
Soren Emil Carlsen (1848 - 1932) A Man in His Garden, 1893 Oil on canvas 28 3/4 x 35 1/2 inches Signed and dated lower right Provenance: The artist [1848-1932] Macbeth Gallery, New ...
Category

1890s American Impressionist Emil Carlsen Art

Materials

Canvas, Oil

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