New York Tribune, New York, NY, “The Craftsmanship of Emil Carlsen”, December 21, 1919, Sunday, First Edition, Page 41, illustrated: B&W
CARLSEN WEIR AND WILLIAM BLAKE
Studies of Still Life and Visions of a Phantom World
By Royal Cortissoz
As there are comparatively few new exhibitions this week it is because the galleries are pretty nearly congested. We seldom see before the holidays such a mass of pictures and prints as is now accessible in New York. The two more important events of the season are here, the Winter Academy and the show of modern French art at the Metropolitan Museum, and the separate exhibitions of individual artists are everywhere along Fifth Avenue. In the salesroom the new year will witness an extraordinary renewal of activities. From early in January until the pring there will be a crowded succession of collections at the American Art Galleries and the Anderson Galleries.
The Craftsmanship of Emil Carlsen
The evidences of an unusual tribute paid to a living painter may be seen at the Macbeth Gallery. An exhibition there is composed of works by Mr. Emil Carlsen and all fifteen of them are from one collection, that of Mr. Robert Handley. How often does an amateur thus demonstrate his enthusiastic faith in an artist? Mr. Handley has been well rewarded. For one thing, the painter to who he shows such devotion is uncommonly versatile. Mr. .Carlsen has produced landscapes, marines, portraits and studies of still life. In the last mentioned he has done his best work, but everything that bears his name is interesting and of value.
The preface to the catalogue, by Mr. Duncan Phillips, contains some suggestive information. It seems that in his youth at Copenhagen Mr. Carlsen was trained for the profession of architecture. This, as Mr. Phillips surmises, may readily aaccount for the draftsmanship which is one of his best resources. There is no great quality of style in his drawing. it is, indeed, a little hard. But it is noticeable for purity and precision. Witness in this exhibition the refined exactitude of the charming little “Portrait of Dines” and, even more, the delicacy of contour which the painter always secures in the Oriental vessels and kindred objects portrayed in his studies of still life. As a virtuoso in the exploitation of vases, pots, pans and the like, Mr. Carlsen is a disciple of Chardin, but also the child of his own time. He seems sophisticated where the old French master is almost naive. His harmonies of color are ingenious, complex beside the simple serenity and breadth of Chardin. He hasn’t anything of the latter’s weight and mellowness. But his work has great beauty, just the same, which is sufficient recompense for the differences between him and his renowned exemplar. It has the beauty of color manipulated with feeling, taste and skill. There is a trace of poetic emotion in this artist. It comes out in his pictures of forest and sea in which a luminous study of the Venetian sky as his “On the Giudecca” and it is manifest in the subtle loveliness of tone in which his pictures of still life envelop insensate things. His paintings are brilliant achievements as they stand. Time should give them a wonderful patina.
WORKS BY EMIL CARLSEN