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Emil Carlsen
(1853-1932)


A painter born in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 19, 1853, Emil Carlsen was an architecture student at the Danish Royal Academy before immigrating to Chicago in 1872. While working as an architectural draftsman, he became an assistant to painter L. B. Holse. After a six month sojourn in Paris, where he studied briefly with Vallon, he returned to Chicago and taught at the newly formed school which is now the Art Institute of Chicago. Carlsen returned to Paris during 1884-1886 and began specializing in still-lifes. He maintained studios in Boston and New York during 1886. The following year, at the request of Mary Curtis Richardson, he moved to San Francisco to succeed the late Virgil Williams as director of the School of Design. He shared a studio on Montgomery Street with Arthur Matthews, a close friend whom he had met in Paris, and also taught at the Art Studentís League. He was an active member of the Bohemian Club during his four years in San Francisco; however, his time in California was not particularly successful due to limited sales and exhibition opportunities. Returning to New York in 1891 penniless, he regularly taught at the National Academy of Design and by 1896 had gained financial success and recognition.

Around 1905 he built a home and studio in Falls Village, Connecticut while maintaining a residence in New York City, and in 1906 was elected to the National Academy. He was for he most part self-taught, but his greatest influence came in Paris from studying the works of the 18th century still-life specialist Chardin. His paintings were darker before his stay in Paris; whereas, the effect of the French Impressionists brightened his palette considerably. He also painted vaporous, delicate marines, but it was his still-lifes which made him one of Americaís most famous painters of copper kettles, gleaming bottles, fish, game, etc. The largest and most important exhibition of his work during his lifetime was held at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC in 1923. Carlsen died in New York City on January 2, 1932.

Member: National Academy; American Federation of Arts; Salmagundi Club; National Arts Club.

Awards: gold medal, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, 1904; Inness Medal, 1907 and Saltus medal, 1916 National Academy of Design; bronze medal, Buenos Aires, 1910; Temple medal, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1912; medal of honor, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915.

Works Held: de Young Museum; Bohemian Club; Art Institute of Chicago; Metropolitan Museum; Corcoran Gallery; National Museum of American Art; Brooklyn Museum; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Oakland Museum; Santa Barbara Museum; San Diego Museum; Frye Museum, and others.

Sources:
Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Sacramento: Crocker, Art Museum, 2002. N. pag. 2 vols. Print.