Emil Carlsen Archives is a Non-profit organization running the world's largest visual archive of the work of painter Emil Carlsen [1848-1932]

Emil Carlsen : Copper bowl, white vase, cloth and onions, ca.1890.

January 1, 1890
Emil Carlsen : Copper bowl, white vase, cloth and onions, ca.1890.

ECA record control number: 1275

Archives of American Art #: 09360070

Record level: Item

Record type: Movable work

Work title: Copper bowl, white vase, cloth and onions

Alternate work titles:
1999: Copper bowl, white vase, cloth and onions [from exhibition catalog]

Work date: ca.1890 [dated based on known example using same bowl & similar palette and technique]

Work creator: Emil Carlsen [1848-1932]

Work medium: Oil on canvas
Work dimensions: 30 x 25 inches [unframed] | 62-1/4 x 56 x 2-1/4 inches [framed] | 29 x 23-1/4 inches

Inscribed/signed front:
Location: At upper left.
Dated: No.

Verso: unknown

ECA category: Still life
ECA sub-Category: Kitchen

Archives of American Art subjects:
Still Life
Still Life — Other
Still Life — Other — Container
Still Life — Other — Cookware
Still Life — Vegetable
Still Life — Vegetable — Onion

Description of work:

2016 ( Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens [1961- ], 829 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville, FL  32204, Gift of Thomas H. Jacobsen [1940-2002] and Diane DeMell Jacobsen [1944- ] (accession #AP.2016.2.1) ) ;
2016 ( Christie’s [1766- ], Rockefeller Center, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020 [unsold] ) ;
2015 Estate of John Martin Liebes [1930-2015] and Gail Liebes [1931-2000], Brentwood, CA ;
1986 Private collection of John Martin Liebes [1930-2015] and Gail Liebes [1931-2000], Brentwood, CA ;
1986 ( Vance Jordan Fine Art [1987-2003], 958 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021 | Jordan-Volpe Gallery [c.1978-1987], 457 West Broadway, New York, NY ) ;
before ca.1986 Private collection of Robert Bahssin [1928-2014], Larchmont, NY ;
ca.1890 Emil Carlsen [1848-1932], the artist .

Exhibition history:
2016 Christie’s [1766- ], New York, NY, “American art”, May 19. 
1999 Vance Jordan Fine Art, New York, NY, “Quiet magic : the still-life paintings of Emil Carlsen“, October 28 – December 10.
1985 Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT, “The still life paintings of Emil Carlsen”, March 31 – May 5.

– Christie’s [1766- ], New York, NY, On-line Auction Catalog, “American Art”, May 19, 2016, lot #26, illustrated: color.
– “Soren Emil Carlsen : the hammershoi of Manhattan” by Kim Lykke Jensen, Narayana Press, Gylling, Denmark, 2008, illustrated: color, page 40, figure 22.
– Vance Jordan Fine Art, New York, NY, Exhibition Catalog, “Quiet magic : the still-life paintings of Emil Carlsen“, October 28 – December 10, 1999, #18.
– “The Art of Emil Carlsen: Mastery of the Mundane” by J. M. Holzer, B.A. thesis, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 1997, page 34, plate 2, illustrated.
– “Emil Carlsen ad for The Jordan-Volpe Gallery“, Antiques Magazine, December, 1986, illustrated: color.   [provided by Amon Carter Center, Fort Worth, TX]
– Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT, exhibition catalog, “The still life paintings of Emil Carlsen”, March 31 – May 5, 1985, #?, not illustrated.

Related works:
– Still life with Shou Lao, ca.1890  [similar background used]
Still life–goose and copper pot, ca.1883  [similar copper pot used]
– Still life of game bird and wine bottle, 1883  [similar copper pot used]

ECA notes:

– Christie’s [1766- ], New York, NY, on-line auction catalog, “Sale”, May 19, 2016, lot #26, illustrated: color.
“With deceptive simplicity and modesty, Emil Carlsen arranges his still-life compositions with a thoughtfulness that belies a deeper spiritual understanding of subject that in turn transcends the traditional definition of the genre. His restraint in design echoes the mastery of 18th century painter Jean Simeon Chardin, who instilled in his otherwise everyday subjects a sense of mystery and reserved grandeur to create timeless compositions. In both color and form, Copper Bowl, White Vase, Cloth and Onions demonstrates Carlsen’s unrivaled handling of paint to capture an emotional narrative in an otherwise static subject matter. Mastering the use of white pigment, Carlsen explores the full range of tonality and surface in the present work, from the penetratingly cold gray stone wall background and slightly yellowed worn cloth, hanging from the top edge as if bearing witness to the inhabitant of this interior, to the crisp cool white vase and lightly shaded purple onions that seem to fall across the foreground. The perfectly composed copper boil shimmers in the reflective light, underscoring the metallic sound and feel of the object, exploiting the flat canvas to achieve tremendous depth and volume. Carlsen imbues the entire scene with an underlying narrative, lending an anthropomorphic quality to the objects that evokes a spirit of humanity to the still-life rendering. In 1917, noted collector, critic and museum patron Duncan Phillips wrote: “In spite of the fact that Carlsen is a constant student of nature and a laborious and devout technician, and that his pictures are outwardly faithful representations of things as they are without any insane befuddlement of abstractization [sic], yet I shall endeavor to point out a certain quality of classic abstraction in his work which gives to his art an unintentional symbolism more significant than the obvious algebra of the theoretical abstractionist. In the work of Carlsen we are privileged to share the intimacies of a rather unique sensibility which is all the more self-revealing for being genuinely unselfconscious.” (“Emil Carlsen,” The International Studio, vol. LXI, no. 244, June 1917, p. 105) The deliberately reduced palette of Copper Bowl, White Vase, Cloth and Onions allows Carlsen to explore the semi-abstract nature of the composition, inviting the viewer to become lost in the scene. By rejecting the prevailing tradition of still lifes being over-wrought lavish compositions, Carlsen has decidedly formed a more modern approach to the historical subject. Similar to Clyfford Still’s monumental canvases painted some fifty years later that distill the traditional landscape to the most elemental forms to create scenes of universally timeless themes, Carlsen’s still-life subjects are an extension of the artist’s virtuosity as a deeply spiritual master of late 19th century American art. Anticipating the emotive force of Still’s abstractions that use color and form in powerful harmony to express the rhythm and surface of the landscape, so too does Carlsen manipulate paint and composition to “stir our emotions as only great art can do.” (The International Studio, p. 151)”

Price history:
2016 – $100,000 – $150,000 [auction estimate – unsold.]


Document information

Digital-born document number:

Digital document provenance:
Original compiled and researched document by the Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, Suite 4E, New York, NY 10011.

Document license:
Creative Commons Corporation  shareAlike (sa) license.  Some of the information contained within this document may hold further publication restrictions depending on final use.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine.

Image license:
The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to U.S. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death. In other countries, legislation may differ.

Record birth date:
January 27, 2014

Last updated: July 31, 2017 at 16:33 pm

©2013-2017 Emil Carlsen Archives

Digital-born Publication Title: Emil Carlsen Archives
Publication Subtitle: World's Largest Visual Reference Dedicated to the Preservation of the Work of Danish-American Impressionist/Realist Painter, Emil Carlsen [1848-1932]
Library of Congress Subject Authority Heading: Carlsen, Emil, 1853-1932
Emil Carlsen LC control no.: n 85141186
Publication Type: Online Integrating Resource
Language: English
Creator/Author: Emil Carlsen Archives
Published by: Emil Carlsen Archives, 266 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10011
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Publish Date: 2013 –
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MARC Organization Code: 41959
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