San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, CA, “Flying From Philistines”, September 27, 1891, page 13, column 1-3
“Flying From Philistines
Another Artists Joins the Long List That Have Abandoned Us.
Emil Carlsen is Going East.
The Well-Known Painter and Bohemian Off for New Fields—Still Life and Work in San Francisco.
Gone to Redwoods. Back after drinks. Sign? written? in yellow on the door of the studio of Emil Carlsen, the painter, but Carlsen returned some time in July and his studio door has since been opened to such friends as known the mystic signal that causes the bolt to be drawn. In a few days, however, Carlsen may change his sign into “Gone to New York. Back when the mood seizes him.”
Carlsen’s mood is now to go away after a trial of San Francisco, following a dozen other artists who have deemed that this city is not generous, not even just to its own painters. They have “followed the fashion of the astronomers in seeking a better light,” Morac Hinstend wrote of Carlsen? “The artists have the same weaknesses with the writers in complaining of those who have foreign galleries that they did not at all harzards profer home manufacters, but bought pictures as they did books, where they could be found for sale according to their means and their taste.
Fried Yates as strong a portrait painter in picturing on canvas the character of him whom he drew as ever had a studio on this Coast, could not make a living here and packed his color-box and went to England, where he is appreciated and making money painting pictures ot go into private galleries for posterity to gaze upon as “great grandfather, who testified n the Gordon Cummins case.”
Theordore Wores may not be classed as a notable artist, but he was fortunate in presenting before the public paintings of Japanese style at a time when the Japanese fad was raging. He sold his large collection of pictures at very high prices, but in London, not San Francisco. Here, where he first offered his pictures, he sold just two, and these had been painted to fill orders.
Amadee Joullin, who remains, has just completed a large canvas of the interior of a Chinese joss house. The characteristic group of Chinese musicians by the altar is better work than, Wores has done. it has been purchased by James D. Phelan, the President of the Bohemian Club.
While not a strong painter when here Alexander Harrison has developed abroad but gives no intention of returning. He remains in Paris painting marines, landscapes, and figures.
Matilda Lots, a powerful painter of animals, also is in Paris.
Julian Rix, Miss McChesney, Elizabeth Strong and others have gone from this place? for “better light.”
The greatest of all, Tavernier, the familiar of the redwoods, the eccentric child of genius, the type of Bohemia, after extraordinary struggle with adversity left this city, but for a still more uncongenial place. His eccentricities may have provented a moderate financial success here, but he never could have won the place his merits desered. Some of his best work is here. Irving M. Scott owns “Waiting for Montezuma,: and Colonel A. G. Hawes “The Antiquarian.” The Bohemian Club has some of—the notable—pictures—of—the great painter, among them the marvelous pastel picturing the Bohemian ceremony of the cremation of Caro in the redwoods.
Carlsen himself in speaking of his departure says: “I am going where people buy pictures, where there is opportunity to exhibit them and whee a name means something.”
After the death of Virgil William, the Director of the San Francisco Art Association, Benson? Lewis?, the portrait painter suggested Emil Carlsen to take his place and the suggestion was carried out. Carlsen came but did not remain long at the head fo the Art Association.
His criticisms of the manner of conducting the assocaition needs not be rehearsed at length. he commented on the dependence of the school upon what he called charity and believed that it might be made a self-supporting Institution if conducted in a different way. He pointed out that almost all schools of this kind in the country are managed by artists for students who aspire to become artists. he has been known even to declare that the Directors and the President gave rules about matters of which they were Ignorant and to protest against making the association more of a finishing schhol than an academy.
He chafed also at the amount of work of instructing required, saying that no professional painter of standing would give his constant attendance at the school for any length of time.
He commended the plan of the Art Students’ League, the other art school, of employing three or four teacher each two half days of each week.
After severing his connection with the Art Association Mr. Carlsen was engaged to decorate the interior of the residence of William H. Crocker, He decorated the ceilings and the walls designed the tained glass and advised in the selection of the furniture.
For two years he has been painting easel pictures. he says of his departure:
“After two years I find it upleasant to be a pioneer in a place where the wealthier people get their pictures from Europe and the East and the class of people that might like to purchase local paintings cannnot well afford it.”
Carlsen’s paintings have been principally of still life and landscapes, though he has made a few portraits. Some of his paintings remain in San Francisco.
The most important is in the possession of Mrs. William H. Crocker. The subject is Sand Dunes and the excellence is in the faithful coloring. It was exhibited in 1887 at the exhibition of the Society of American Artists.
Another important work is a large still-life hanging in the main dining room of the Bohemian Club. It also was exhibited by the Society of American Artists. It was bought by some members of the club and presented to the club.
Fred Zeile has a fine canvas by Carlsen. It is a still life of copper and brass. It was displayed in New York at the 1889 exhibition of the Society of American Artists.
Colonel A. G. Hawes has a landscape Sand Dunes somewhat similar to the one owned by Mrs. Crocker.
Louis Sloss, Jr. is the owner of a still life exhibited by the Society of American Artists.
Another large still-life is in the possession of Fred Burgin, President of the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad.
Carlsen pretends that his best work shall be a bit of characteristic California scenery. He has begun a very large canvas of a scene in the heart of a redwood forest. He proposes to complete it in New York, from studies he made this summer in time for the Spring Academy.
His picture “La Plumouse: which was in the Salon in 1885, was bought by George Seney of New York, the greatest collector of pictures in America. When brought to this country it was exhibited at the New York Academy, holding a place of honor, then at the Boston Paint and Clay Club and then at Louisville, KY, where it won a prize.
Carlsen’s best work is in painting, not in composing a picture. His picture of still-life are remarkable for fidelity.
The painter himself is a fine Bohemian, a Dane by birth, a metropolitan by taste, a man who appreciates good things oftener than he gets them.
Several of his still-life paintings are picture of fish and his mood was x? to x? the markets for big cod oe bass for models.
When these models had remained in the studio a few days they developed artistic odors and then were cast into the alley under his windows.
When the artists discovered that the fish disappeared suddenly form thr alley he dined no more at a restaurant whose side entrence was upon the alley.”
WORKS BY EMIL CARLSEN