The Touchstone and the American Art Student Magazine, New York, NY, “Still Life Paintings As Inspiration for Home Decoration: Illustrated By The Work of Emil Carlsen”, Mary Fanton Roberts Incorporated, 1920, Volume 7, page 110-116, illustrated: b&w
ECA Record Control Number: 17272
Record Level: Reference
Record Type: Magazine
Article Type: Article
Key Title: Still Life Paintings As Inspiration for Home Decoration
Sub Title: Illustrated By The Work of Emil Carlsen
Publisher: Mary Fanton Roberts Incorporated
Publish Location: New York, NY
Date of Publication: 1920 [volume 7]
Source: Google books
Carlsen, Emil, 1948-1932.
Number of copies: 1
“Still Life Paintings As Inspiration for Home Decoration: Illustrated By The Work of Emil Carlsen
Emil Carlsen looked at a broken vegetable basket, an old copper kettle, a white jug, and saw the immortal spirit of beauty hovering over them. With the skilled hand of a trained craftsman, guided by an artist’s appreciation of beauty, he so fixed his vision upon canvas that thousands of people made pilgrimage to see it this last winter as it hung in the Macbeth Galleries, New York City. Softly glowing, yet clearly delineated, the little white jug filled the room with wonder. It held the mind as well as the eye, arrested the speech of thoughtlessness and lifted the of those that observed it. Beauty is ever present, like the light of the sun. It leaps before us, walks quietly by our side. follows unobtrusively our every motion, looks out through the eyes of friends, and halos the commonest objects of our daily life, yet it does not always arrest our dull eyes until an artist points it out. It takes an artist’s vision to show us that our lives are filled with beauty, that the smallest and most matter-of-fact, object of daily life speaks to us of beauty. The mere fact that an object is humble is no reason why it should not be made to appeal to our sense of beauty.
Emil Carlsen is craftsman as well as artist. Accuracy and ideality are equally characteristic of his work. His early years were devoted to the study of architecture, and the exacting training of those days unconsciously supports his brush as it seeks to catch subtle effects. Critics and connoisseurs rank his still life canvases close to theose of the great Chardin who gave Carlsen as a young man his inspiration. Though he has studued the sea and reproduced the pulse and rhythm of its waves with paint and brush, walked beneath the trees and conveyed to cnavas the benediction of their spreading branches, to many he will be remembered most of all for his pictures of still life.
It is in the combination of reality and idealism that his genius is most forcibly realized. When he paints a jade bowl all the exquisite translucent color of this precious stone is seen, as well as the perfection of its carved form. One of his canvases shown in the Loan Exhibition held at the Macbeth Galleries was called the “Jade Bowl.” Standing beack of the softly glowing bowl on its ebony stand is an old ivory figure, softly modeled, smiling with the inscrutable smile only to be found on the face of old Chinese gods. Close beside it rests an amethyst. The combination of old ivory, jade and amethyst focused in the foreground, surrounded with the indecribable atmophere of age forms a picture of rare perfection.
His gift for reproducing textures is marvelously appreciated in a canvas “Blue and White.” Here a Chinese vase of white porcelain with figures of blue rests upon a teak wood stand in front of an old gold and blue Chinese tapestry so faithfully copied that its very texture and quality is felt. Grouped with the blue and white vases. Each holds inviolate its own characteristic, yet all flow and blend together like the melodies in a sonata. Here again his peculiar gift for combining realism and subtle feeling gives distinction to his work.
Yet another example of still life that will hold the interest of artists as long as the canvas endures is a group of Roman glass bottles, vases and jars. How characteristic is the transparent quality of the old glass! How alive and throbbing the perfect background! Whether translucent jade, opaque porcelain, transparent glass or the warp and woof of tapestry, his brush interprets truthfully while losing none of the evanescent spirit.
In looking at these cnavases one is reminded of the great value of pictures in creating atmosphere and beauty in the home. These still life subjects have a marvelous quality of repose. They suggest peace and give the observer that strange quiet joy that comes from an appreciation of all that is fine and subtle. Such a picture should be placed where it could be enjoyed between the chapters of a good book; some place where there is a whispering little fire, where the evening lamp brings out the soft shadows of a room. Such pictures have none of the stimulating, exciting quality that belongs in a hunting room, nor the imposing dignity demanded for baronial halls. They are essentially for people who wish a picture for their most intimate room, one which will grow steadily into the heart as does a beloved, well tested friend.
Nothing has ever been created as a wall decoration that has the force of a good painting. Tapestries belong in palaces, and rugs as used by Chinese and Persians are perfect in certain settings, but a good picture hung in a room virtually reconstructs it. Its influence is felt on the walls, the hangings and even the furniture. Either these things must be brought up to the standard and quality of the picture or else it must be removed. It is like a great personality, which is capable of lifting an entire situation or company of people into realms of thought and belief not commonly experienced. It must be reckoned with and cannot be slighted.
So powerful is the influence of a good painting that it is not always easy to find a suitable associate. Some pictures, like some personalities, are instinctively hostile. Far better to let one perfect picture dominate a room, bringing all into perfect harmony, than to have it with unsympathetic association.
Many of the most famous rooms in the world have been built around a picture, entire structures sometimes serving virtually as a frame to some notable work of art. Though it is fine to have public structures built to preserve and honor masterpieces of art, still the best place for certain types of pictures is in the home. Here the full beauty of the thought that lies behind the picture can be appreciated, and here also its influence upon the formation of character is most potent. One of the purposes of painting is to teach. Not be word, but by suggestion. A good picture provokes thought and keeps the mind tuned to beauty. It helps to give quality to a mind. One way of teaching is to fill the mind with certain recognized facts. The other is to encourage the mind to think for itself. This latter is the finest form of education, one which next to nature is the most potent, in a good painting.
In still life subjects such as these by Emil Carlsen the appeal is many sided. Some observers are impressed chiefly with beauty of color, others in the excellence of its reproduction of objects. Still another pleasure is derived from an association of ideas or memories which the objects painted recall. A well painted jade bowl will start a while chain of thought in the minds of various types of people, travelers, collectors, artists, so that its excellence gives a many-sided satisfaction beside that of its purely decorative appeal. Whatever stimulates thought or makes one respond to beauty has a value far beyond any money value set upon it. Some things like a flower, a sunset or an inspired poem, cannot have its value reduced to weight in gold, for it is of the spirit.
TO A TIRED CHILD
This tall, gray road that climbs the sky
Is neighbor to a star,
But if you watch the trees go by
It will not seem so far.
And if you listen very still
As though you were quite grown,
Maybe the thrushes on the hill
Will think themselves alone,
And talk a bit in their own way,
Or gossip with the star,
Hush, for a star is shy, they say,
As any thrushes are!
Grace Hazard Conkling. ”
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:
January 2, 2017
January 2, 2017