Illinois Journal, Chicago, IL, “Acquires Art Treasure: DuPage County Credit Bureau Manager Pays $35 for $2,000 painting”, January 17, 1938, illustrated: b&w.
ECA Record Control Number: 16812
Record Level: Reference
Record Type: Newspaper
Article Type: Work Mention
Key Title: Acquires Art Treasure
Sub Title: DuPage County Credit Bureau Manager Pays $35 for $2,000 painting
Publisher: Illinois Journal
Publish Location: Chicago, IL
Date of Publication: January 17, 1938
Source: Emil Carlsen hanging/loose file of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Description: Woman buys Emil Carlsen painting for storage liquidation for $35 and it is worth $2,000.
Carlsen, Emil, 1848-1932
Claflin, E. C., ?-?
Hahn’s Storage Company, Chicago, IL
Number of copies: 1
“Acquires Art Treasure: DuPage County Credit Bureau Manager Pays $35 for $2,000 Painting
Two months ago Mrs. E. C. Claflin, Lombard, manager of DuPage county credit bureau located in the Liberty building, bought a painting, because she liked it, at Hahn’s storage company. She paid $35 for the canvas with its luminous representation of a woman feeding chickens.
Six weeks later she discovered that the picture was the work of a master painter—that is was valued at $2,000!
“But I’m going to keep it,” declared Mrs. Claflin, who refuses to be separated from her cherished painting for a mere 5,600 per cent profit.
“There’s a lot of drama to the story,” she continued. “Just as soon as I looked at the picture I liked it, and the color was lovely, but it was terribly dirty. So I looked at it for months, but finally I bought it for atmosphere for the wall in the outer office. I didn’t even know that it was signed.”
Washing Reveals Name
But when she washed it, the tiny “Emil Carlsen, Paris, ’96” was revealed in the right hand corner. Not that the name meant anything to Mrs. Claflin—not then.
“So the more I looked at it,” she said, “the more it just kind of grew on me that it really was a master.”
Six weeks after the Woman Feeding Chickens was hung on the office wall of the Liberty building, its owner determined to investigate the validity of her suspicion. She went to the Chicago Art Institute—”hoping remotely that I could find out information about Emil Carlsen.”
And the name proved to be a magic key, opening for Mrs. Claflin the doors of the sanctum sanctorum, the closely-kept office of the institute’s director, the late Dr. Robert B. Harshe—who died the day before the Wednesday he was to view Mrs. Claflin’s treasure.
First Institute Teacher
And Carlsen, she discovered, was a recognized master—first teacher at Chicago Art Institute, whose paintings hand in galleries such as the Metropolitan museum (New York City), the Corcoran gallery of art (Washington, D. C.) and the Chicago Art Institute.
So the painting that for a time contributed “Atmosphere” to a Wheaton office now rests in the vaults of the institute, waiting to go on public exhibition. Others by Carlsen, the property of the Chicago organization—The Miraculous Draught and Connecticut Hillside—are already on display there.
“And I bought the painting just because I liked it, not because of the signature or anything about it,” said Mrs. Claflin.
Carlsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1853, and came to the United States in 1872. He was elected to associate membership in the National Academy in 1904, became a full-fledged Academician in 1906, died in 1932. Beginning as an architect in Denmark, he became a painter whom it was said: “No one a better chemist in the mixture of paints, no one a better technician in the preparation of canvas than he.”
At one time Carlsen was described as “the most accomplished master of still life in America” and it was said that his work “has shown a power to stir our emotions as only great art can do.
picture caption: Emil Carlsen’s Woman Feeding Chickens, an oil painting valued at $2,000 which was purchased at Hahn’s Storage company by Mrs. E. C. Claflin, manager of DuPage county credit bureau—the picture is shown here hanging on the wall of Mrs. Claflain’s office in the Liberty building, with Miss Margaret Rawson of Lombard at the desk. [Kohli photo]”
WORKS BY EMIL CARLSEN
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.
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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:
December 21, 2016
December 21, 2016