EMIL CARLSEN ARCHIVES

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

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63, 1937

January 1, 1937

TEXT

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

"W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research" Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

“W.P.A. Project 2871, OP 65-3-3632: Abstract from California Art Research” Edited by Gene Haily, Volume 5, pages 27-63

TEXT TRANSCRIPTION (computer OCR may contain errors)

Vol. IV. MONOGRAPHS

CARLSEN
returned to share the field with the ‘critics’.
He has ‘come to earth’the second time,and will remain here,to the satisfaction of friends and of pictures for the Society of American ^ptip%8, painting portraits, and displays two very not­ he will give an exhibition. Mr. Carlsen favors dio where the organization might have a home.”

ART STUDENTS’ LEAGUE
creased, and preparations are being made for a larger attendance than ever before in its history. The instructors are Emil Carlsen, Mrs.Mary Curtis Richardson, Arthur F. Mathews, and Carlsen gives strong evidence of his intention of remaining some considerable time ‘on earth’ portunity of viewing, at an early day, some of Mr. Carlsen’s later efforts, which include some very excellent portraits and landscapes.”

BUILDS STUDIO WITH MATHEWS
“Mr. Carlsen and Mr. Mathews, Instructors at the Art Students’ League, are building a stu­ dio on Montgomery Avenue opposite the school.”
“Mr. Carlsen and Mr. Mathews will move into their new studio on Montgomery Street this week. The atelier, when finished, will be the most complete and useful in the city.”

CARLSEN’S INFLUENCE ON CALIFORNIA ART
“Emil Carlsen is again at work, having built a studio,on Montgomery Street entirely to his lik­ ing. The influence this painter has had on art in San Francisco will never be truly estimated until the promise of the present epoch has been fulfilled in the dawn of another and better,.Mr.
Carlsen,whose reputation as a painter of stilllife grows in brightness when he is compared with any other American artist, came to this city,when what people call the ‘art atmosphere’ here contained very little oxygen Indeed.”

“His term as instructor at the School of Design was a notable one in its history. If the stu­ dents had art nature in them, it was developed and enlarged. Then MT. Carlsen returned to the East. He remained there but a short time, but while he was gone he was lamented, by one who Is attracting attention and winning fame in Great Britain and Ireland,Fred Yates, one of the most accomplished painters the East has ever given the West. Mr. Carlsen came back, and was fol­ lowed by a host of artists,whose reputation won for them warm welcomes. There were Mathews, Lash, Peters, Inchbold, Larpenteur, and others.

CARLSEN
They believed that where Mr. Carlsen set up his easel art life must be strong and healthy.
Outside of New Yofk, San Francisco probably has now as many artists of wide and great reputa­ tion as any city in the country.

“Mr. Carlson’s efforts in the Art Students’ League have been of the most successful char­ acter. The attendance has largely increased, and the improvement in the work of the students has been marked. A life-size portrait of a young lady has just been completed by this art­ ist. The composition is excellent, and the colors are in beautiful harmony, but the pic­ ture as a whole will not satisfy those who de­ sire to see the portrait of a young lady gar­ nished with the picture of a large red dog and “Another artist joins the long list that have aban­ doned us,” comments the San Francisco Examiner of September 27, 1891:

“‘Gone to Redwoods. Back after Jinks’, is chalk­ ed 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 know the mystic sig­ nal 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

CARLSEN WISHES TO RETURN TO THE EAST
“Carlsen’s mood is now to go away after a trial of San Francisco, following a dozen other art­ ists who have deemed that this city is not.
generous, not even just, to its own painters.

They have ‘followed the fashion of the astrono­ mers in seeking a better light,’ as Murat Hal­ stead wrote of Cincinnati. ‘The artists have the same weaknesses with the writers in com­ plaining of those who have foreign galleries, that they did not, at all hazards, prefer home manufactures, but bought pictures as they did books, where they could, be found for sale, ac­ cording to their means and taste.’

CARLSEN
“Fred Yates, as strong a portrait painter, in picturing on.canvas the character of him he drew, as ever had a studio on this Coast, could not make a living here, and packed his colorbox and.went to England, where he is appreci­ ated, and making money painting pictures to go into private galleries for posterity to gaze says: ‘I am going where people buy pictures, where there an opportunity to exhibit them, and where a name means some thing.’
ARTIST CRITICIZES ART ASSOCIATION
“After the death of Virgil Williams, the Di­ rector of the San Francisco Art Association, Benoni Irwin, the portrait painter, suggested Emil Carlsen to take his place, and the sug­ gestion was carried out. Carlsen came, but did not remain long as the head of the Art Associ­ “His cNlticisms of the manner of conducting the association need 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 insti­ 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 finish­ “He chafed, also, at the amount of work of in­ structing required, saying that no profession­ al painter of standing would give his constant attendance at the school for any length of

CARLSEN
“He commended the plan of the Art Students’ League, the other art school,of employing three or four teachers, each two half days of each “After severing his connection with the Art As­ sociation, Mr. Carlsen was engaged to decorate the interior of the residence of William H.
Crocker. He decorated the ceilings and the walls, designed the stained-glass, and advised in the selection of furniture.

“For two years he has been painting easel pic­ tures. He says of his departure:

“‘After two years^I find it unpleasant to be a pi­ oneer in a place where the wealthier people get their pic­ tures from Europe and the East, and the class of people that might like to purchase local paintings cannot well afford it.'”

CARLSEN RETURNS TO NEW YORK
Carlsen found that the moneyed magnates of Nob Hill and Rus­ sian Hill were more concerned with importing Old Masters from Europe to decorate their palatial mansions, than in en­ couraging an unpretentious artist in their own city. They appreciated and purchased very few paintings by local talent of the snowy Sierras, the rocky, pine-clad coast of the Pa­ cific; even the exquisite still-life painting by Carlsen were not sold. His lovely arrangements of still-life, per­ haps a porcelain or a brass bowl,set against a background of Chinese brocade— had to wait for patronage in the cities of New York, Boston, end Philadelphia.
CARLSEN
scene, decided to return to New York in 1891. There he spent some time as an instructor in the National Academy of Design, and also taught in the Fine Arts Academy of Philadelphia.
The name Emil Carlsen thereby becomes known to art journals as that of an Eastern American artist of note, al­ though San Francisco had her share in training the young Danish painter.

“Detective work seldom is necessary to deter­ mine a painter’s nationality through his work,” says Elizabeth Luther Cary in the New York Times of January 10, 1932, after the artist’s death.

“He may be the most convinced of internation­ alists, his work if worthy of any consideration “Emil Carlsen, whose recent death removes from American art circles one of the finest and most accomplished painters, was born in Denmark, but lived the larger part of his long life in this country. Denmark, however, was in his blood, and his vision and in his craftsmanship.

HIS METHODS
“Looking back over the paintings by this artist that year after year have brought distinction to the galleries in which they were shown, one thinks of the Danish attitude toward their pot­ teries and porcelains, produced with a care and a patience and a fastidious zest for perfection that lead the potter to reject all but the most exquisite forms, the most perfect firing to serve as a basis for design. The design may be bold, and sturdy, and rich in color, but is bound to show in the general effect of inherent refinement and. purity of craftsmanship. It is this quality of fundamental soundness that first impresses a public to which Carlsen was
CARLSEN
“He was a great painter. Through his consis­ tent adherence to the mighty force of under­ statement, through his avoidance of all cheap methods of appeal or hurried use of devices, to gain effects quickly, through the technical beauty of his surfaces he was great, if we use the word in its simple sense of extraordinary in accomplishment; and he was nearly unique among his contemporaries in his attention to each step cf his work from the beginning to the end. He is said never but once to have spoiled a canvas and that one had been mistreated be­ fore he tried to prepare it. His preparation of a canvas was in itself an art. He did one for J. Alden Weir, who found it so beautiful that he hung it on the wall as it was, and could never bring himself to paint on it.
“Ordinarily Carlsen’s result was obtained by a long, slow process of building up, the firm tex­ ture and beautiful color reinforcing the sug­ gestion of pottery, ancient examples of which he often introduced in his still-life themes.

Although he painted with oil colors, he follow­ ed the practice of the Italian masters in elim­ inating all suggestions of oilinesn from his work. In his landscapes he painted mere swiftly and directly than in the still-life subjects.

HIS LANDSCAPES
“Samuel Isham, however, writing of his land­ scapes, says: ‘strong and simple, they have the quality of his still-life studies of game or fish— broad,unbroken,masses of color strong­ ly relieved against each other, whether sunlit trees against a deep blue sky, or a white swan against a dead wall; the contrast not being re­ lied on alone for the effect, but the color be­ ing made as absolutely true,as in less vigorous work.’ “It would be interesting to know the detail of this thorough unrelenting craftsmanship; but the personal expression of Danish taste— unmod­ ified by more than half a century of dwelling in another country, is to many the most signif­ icant interest that emerges from reflection upon Emil Carlsen’s Art. Those who saw the Dan­ ish paintings exhibited a few years ago at the
CARLSEN
Brooklyn LIuseum, will find it easy to unite Carlsen’s art with theirs, on the basis of its sincerity and simplicity and its peculiar candor; the special characteristic of its style, which permits the public to perceive the art­ ist’s jntention clearly; its absence of emotion, of exaggeration or license. Hone of tne art that stirs one by its passion or sets the mind to reading a riddle or solving a problem. Such resemblances as these are obvious.
“Less obvious is the subtle link between Carl­ sen and the enigmatic Dane, Vilhelm Hammershoi..

Carlsen,in the few personal contacts this writ­ er had with him,gave the impression of a quiet, serene gentleman, very much an individual, with elusive suggestions of humor in his eyes and in the lines about his mouth; suggestions by no means contradicted by the nature of his work— in which a certain blithoness plays over its sound structure, neither reaching gayety nor sinking into gloom. Nothing of the kind could be said of the brooding and melancholy genius who died prematurely before he was awakened from his dreams. Hammershoi, stifled in a com­ mon grayness all the agitations of his youth and troubled spirit, and Carlsen proclaimed the health, and practical wisdom with which he was endowed, in his color and the architectural rightness of his design. On the surface no two artists of one race could be much further apart.

“Nevertheless, the mysticism from which few fam­ ilies of the northern seas escape, is present in both. In Hammershoi’s paintings it is inva­ riably manifest. He may paint an interior, emp­ ty or with a single inconspicuous figure, and make every lino of paneling end moor frame as clean and true as any carpenter could wish; he may show the reflection of an open door in the polished surface of a table with the closest possible fidelity to visual fact;light may pour from a distant window and lie in a broad and shining pool on a bare floor; a white chain, as white as the bleached bones of the desert, may furnish a foreground accent— the whole picture may bo a succession of simple facts perfectly discriminated and definitely presented^ yet the room is filled with a spiritual essence-— with occult mysteries,and even a commonplace observ­ er must cling to it both quickened and baffled by his inability to read its haunting secret.

HIS MYSTICISM
“In Carlson’s work, the visits of mysticism are brief and far between, but when they happen, they strike a deep note, intensified by their naturalness and simplicity. The large painting of Christ, advancing over a vast expanse of wa­ ter, (‘0, ye of Little Faith’),is the most ob­ vious example,but not the one that remains long­ est in memory. That, which most profoundly in­ terprets the wonder lurking in our minds— what­ ever means is taken to crush it— is a painting, with its subject a little wooden figure, an early French carving, apparently, to which is given the title, ‘Madonna of the Magnolias’, a stiff little child. Nothing of awkwardness or stiffness is abated in the painting, but from the whole emanates a feeling of the miracle of life, a recognition of the power of the unseen and unknown world, created, not made, blurring the succinct appeal of a mechanical age, and reaching a depth of consciousness unplumbed by machine, incoherent, until art gives it a local habitation— if not a name.
“Carlsea’s national strain is not, however, de­ pendent upon his likeness to or sympathy with any individual artist of Danish origin. His work is eloquent of the special quality of the Danish people, their pause at the middle point between coldness and emotionalism. No one, fam­ iliar with his paintings, can see in them the first characteristic. The response to the many forms of beauty in the visible world, is the outcome of a deep sentiment for that objective loveliness which, however we may look at it, is there to be recognized or ignored. In this case the recognition given is devoid of any selfconsciousness and saved from surplusage by just that control and patient fidelity to the medium of expression which dominates the Danish mind.

Of emotionalism there is not a trace.”

AN ESTIMATE 3Y NEUHAUS
“A man of extraordinary versatility, a land­ scape and still-life painter of great distinc­ tion, but one whose finest qualities are found also i n ‘ marine painting,” is Eugene Heuhaus’ estimate of Emil Carlsen in “The History and Ideals of American Art.”
“Carlsen’s struggle for recognition in San Francisco in the ‘eighties, where lesser men than he found unjustifiable encouragement, is a sad commentary upon the artistic sensibili­ ties of the San Franciscans of that day. When he left the Pacific Coast to cast his lot with New York, the City of the Golden Gate lost one of her greatest artistic assets.

“Carlsen never was much of a social being in the active sense, and in New York today he never has been a conspicuous figure in the social life of artists. His work is very different from that of Waugh or of Homer. Where they are real­ istic, brutally frank, Carlsen is poetic, even subdued, reticent. Hi3 work has a very special lure of beauty, delicate and tender, which is not always evident at once. The tendency of his color schemes is toward that of fragile china;

those atmospheric vapors which hang on his seas are haunting and mysterious.

“In the ordinary exhibition, his work is apt to be overshadowed by the more aggressive color and form of others. His impeccable technique is the admiration of all artists, and in caress­ ing his canvases into beautiful textures, he always distinguished for subtlety, both of col­ or and of form. His paintings have a wonder­ fully agreeable finish, without being labored, and his technical methods have tantalized sev­ eral generations of artists.”

“The Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Col­ lection of the Art Institute of Chicago,” 1925, says of”The Miraculous Draught” (1853):

“Perhaps it is his Norse inheritance that gives him his understanding of the sea. Best of all he loves the quiet moods of the sea, in the hushed hours when nature stands still while its colors vibrate softly. It is such a mood he gives us in ‘The Miraculous Draught’, a rever­ ent interpretation of a religious theme. Carlsen’s conceptions are simple and direct,and his reticent draughtsmanship and handling of pig­ ment give them unusual distinction.

“He eliminates darks as Twachtman did^ so that his canvases are high in key, with a narrow range of values. Within this range, however, the gradations are sensitive and scarcely visi­ ble, and the color, however high pitched, clear and luminous. Related to the Impressionists is his love of light; he is quite different in technique. His brush is more restrained, his paint dry,his handling more deliberate than im­ “Although he has fine understanding of the sea, Carlsen does not limit himself to sea paintings, or even to landscapes.

“In two paintings of still-life the Art Insti­ tute has examples of another side of his work, Taking the homeliest of kitchen utensils,he ar­ ranges them, as Chardin did,and finds beauty in form and in subtle graduations of tones,so that the subject matter becomes negligible.”

MASTER OF STILL-LIFE
As Emil Carlsen said to Arthur Edwin Bye, author of “Pots and Pans, or Studies in Still-life Painting”, “There is no essential difference between a still-life and a portrait;
up to a certain point a portrait is a still-life. Then there must be something added— personality, life! But to a stilllife there must be also a something added to make it a work of Art— call it what you will.”

“Emil Carlsen is unquestionably the most accom­ plished master of still-life painting in Ameri­ ca today. It would be unwise to say he is the most highly gifted master of the Art in Europe and America, because it is impossible to judge in this way of one’s contemporaries, over so wide a field. But to one who has been inter­ ested in still-life painting for years, and ob­ servant of what is going on in the world, it is evident that Carlsen has lifted his Art to a height it has never reached, before. This is a strong statement, but it can be well supported.

Doubtless many modernists will not agree to this, on the grounds that Carlsen’s Art is ob­ viously based on the Dutch, and Chardin, and therefore reflects the past; whereas, a virile Art, which seeks to be an expression of modern times, must discard past conventions, and strike out on entirely new lines. There need, be no quarrel with this opinion.

“The writer’s attitude toward new movements in Art, is one of observant respect. The work done by Independents, especially in still-life, is interesting whatever may be their permanent in­ fluence in figure painting; they nave already opened up new fields in decoration.

“But Carlsen is as modern, as independent, as anybody. With old materials, he has given a new interpretation to still-life— a more diffi­ cult, and a more certain accomplishment, than can result from experimenting with new theories, new processes.

“We can apply to Carlsen our original tests for what good still-life painting ought to be. Is his Art the expression of profound experiences, visions, emotions? Are his still-lifes inter­ pretations of these experiences? Do we, the beholders, share in the artist’s experiences?

“One cannot help but feel, after studying sev­ eral examples of Carlsen’s still-life, that the painter experiences in his work emotions of an authentic character— more profound, than those of any of the great masters pf still-life paint­ ing, from Chase to Vollon; back through Chardin, to the Dutchmen. Objects delighted the eye of ^ these men; their outward semblance, their form, their coloring, their textures, were possibili­ ties for then as elenents of design. 3ut ob­ jects have a more mystical meaning to Carlsen;

they delight his outward eye as they do any other painter, but Carlsen has an inward eye, a faculty for discerning all that anyone else ever saw, but more— rhythm, and music and poet­ ry— a serenity, and dignity and sublimity, which makes his still-life groupings classic.

CRITICAL COMPARISONS
“When gazing at a Carlsen still-life, one falls into the same contemplative mood as one does before a Perugino, or sometimes one feels the mystery experienced before a Leonardo (da Vinci).
“From Plotinus to Croce, philosophers have taught that the experience of beauty is mysti­ cal, closely akin to religion. The deep sigs# nificance of Art to the higher life is too lit­ tle understood.

“In the Metropolitan Museum, there is a stilllife by Carlsen, than which I know nothing fin­ er of its kind. On the floor there is a large basket, about which are lying fish and clam shells. Over the basket is thrown a white towel.

This is all there is to it— but let us analyze it. The splendid spaciousness is just what im­ presses us. The basket is a large one, as we know from the relative size of the fish and clan shells on the floor, and yet it takes up only a small part of the composition; there is no sense of crowding.

“The restraint of the composition, as in all of Carlsen’s pictures— is one of its remarkable features. An envelope of atmosphere surmounts the objects and removes them from too harsh a scrutiny. They are not rudely thrust before us.

The wall behind and the floor are bare. The interest thus centers about the basket, rough and broken, but with what care constructed. It is a basket— no hasty impression of 09H; one feels, rather than sees, that it is accurately woven. Notice how the fish are grouped. The large cod curves forward from its shadow of the background, solid and clearly defined. On the other side is a smaller cod; only one or two clam shells stand out distinctly, the rest are massed in shadows. But the white cloth! There is only one other such cloth, and that is in the Chardin still-life in the Boston Museum.

Teniell likewise threw his napkins into folds like that, but his were not so soft, so perfect­ ly natural.

“As for the fish, they should be compared to Chases’. Chases’ fish,we said, were fishy— that is, they were wet, and slimy and finny. These fish are also fishy enough, but Carlsen does not paint things for their surface value. How is it that he subdues their repugnant aspect, so that we do not shiver in front of them— we do not know, but Carlsen’s fish we would like to stroke.

“One could say much more about this picture, masterpiece that it is, but one quality there is about it that stands out above every other, that is its inevitability. One realizes this only after seeing it many times; it could not be otherwise. It grew that way and is immu­ table. Every form 3s rightly placed; every line is there for a purpose. Move a fish, a clam shell, and the picture is spoiled.

“Recently, while visiting the painter in his studio, the writer was pleased to discover a little color print of a Vermeer. I do not re­ call what picture of Vermeer it was, but it re­ minded me of one in the Widener Collection in Philadelphia. The latter represented a lady holding a pair of scales in her hand. The scales were just evenly balanced. A movement of the arm would turn them; that represents Vermeer’s art— perfect balance, hence perfect rest, perfect satisfaction. And this is Carlsen’s art; perfect balance of form, perfect proportion— completeness.

“Do away with one element, and the conposiHL&Q is upset— spoiled. Herein consists the classi­ cism of his art, for classic principles animate it, and the same aesthetic enjoyment is derived as from a work of the best period of Greek Art.

“One of the methods which Carlsen employs to give space and elusiveness to his pictures, is the slurring of the line between the foreground and the background. The distant edge of the ta­ ble or the floor is lost* This is done by scat­ tering little bits of straw, or dead leaves, dried flowers, onions, or vegetables where the line would be— just a few, just enough obscured in the shadow to make one wonder what is back there. Onions vrith their peely skins give this effect in his ‘Still-Life’ in Worcester Art Museum. This is a picture quite unlike the one in New York, for Carlsen is versatile, and fish is by no means his main interest. Here are cop­ per pots and earthen jugs on a stone table. The whole is a study in rich coppers and ochres and grays, bathed in a quiet light bhat softens everything. Onions likewise appear in the ‘Still-Life’ in the possession of Mr. Duncan Phillips. The main objects are a little copper pitcher, a dusty black bottle and a few bowls— the onions are scattered about.

WORD PICTURES QUOTED
“One of his finest paintings is in the McFadden Collection, in Philadelphia. A dead hare lies on the table, or on the floor, you cannot tell which. In back of it are two large copper cans with lids and. handles, and behind these again another dead hare.
“The background is dark, and scattered about in the shadow are a few pieces of straw and bits of leaves. The texture of the rabbit could not have been achieved better by Fyt, nog the sur­ faces of the kettles better by Vollon; but the wonderful charm of the whole composition, with its perfect arrangement, soft lighting, re­ straint, has never been approached by any paint­ “A few more pictures by Carlsen should be men­ tioned, to show the variety of his interests.

Several years ago, he painted flowers. They are not his best works. In these he had not de­ veloped the individual treatment that he has in his other works. A more recent picture, in the possession of the MacBeth Galleries, January 1919, sold to a Western Museum, shows a Japanese fan outstretched against a wall, with a white bowl in front of it and a few dead flowers.

Nothing could exceed the simplicity of the group, yet, with these few objects, the painter has achieved a decorative result not far remov­ ed in spirit from the Japanese. The subject calls for the most delicate, exquisite handling, which we find here. Yet with all of this con­ scientious respect for the design and textures of the fan and bowl, there is that softening veil or film, without which the picture would seem hard and literal.

“Four or five of Carlsen’a best still-lifes are in the collection of Mr. Robert Hanley. One of these is called–‘The Madonna of the Magnolias’ and shows a thirteenth century polychrome fig­ ure.

“The use of old objects of art is exemplified in another still-life, where the background is a mediaeval French tapestry, over which hangs a string of Chinese beads; in front is an ivorycolored vase with dead flowers.

“When Emil Carlsen came to America, no one would buy his still-lifes. It is only recently that we in America have begun to appreciate them, and it is only a beginning. But now we have be­ come so familiar with the still-lifes of Chase, and Carlsen, Manet, Fantin and Cezanne, that this branch of painting is acquiring a prestige it never had before.”

A NATIONAL MAGAZINE COMMENTS
“The social unrest of the past century is clear­ ly manifested in the realm of pictorial expres­ sion. The struggle for freedom, the revolt against convention, the neglect of tradition is apparent in egotistic acclamation and individ­ ualism. Each succeeding generation has broken lances with the preceding one,” writes Elliott Clark in Scribner’s Magazine, December 1910.
“In the midst of insurgent glamour and public­ ity, a quiet soul worked alone, and was unknown.

When general recognition followed, the art of Emil Carlsen was fully formed. Not content to follow the belligerent banner in parade of selfassertion, ho had slowly mastered the art of

CARLSEN
painting, as a craft.’ His expression is reveal­ ed to us within the well defined limitations of this craft, clearly, adequately and beautifully.
“in contrast to the restless activity of his time, of materialistic competition, and cease­ less turmoil, the art of Emil Carlsen is serene and tranquil. Studying somewhat apart from the general current of contemporary art, he has ex­ pressed in his work his own temperament. His art is static, not dynamic. In his expression, we sec a poise and balance, and a sense of con­ tentment, which is the direct emanation of his own being. Idealist and realist, he embodies in his expression the eternal mystery of life;

personal and impersonal, he sees through the veil of the visual world, the eternal verity.

“All life impresses one with the paradox of the seen and the unseen, the objective and the sub­ jective, the sensuous and the spiritual; one, an effect, the other, a cause; one changeable, the other constant; one concrete, the other ab­ stract. In the painting of Carlsen we see this combination happily balanced, a nice relation of objective realization and subjective expres­ sion.

“Carlsen has always had a deep appreciation of the works of Chardin. We can see in their na­ tures, something analogous— a freedom from so­ cial aspiration and professional ambition, a genial spirit, indefatigable application, and an intense love of the craft. If the technique of Carlsen is not as virile and vigorous as that of Chardin, he has added a spiritual charm, which finds expression in a gentler touch, and a more tender caress of the canvas. His work has not the same illustrative and graphic form as Chardin; he is not a realist in the natural­ istic significance of the term, though his pic­ tures are thoroughly realized.

Society of American Artists, New York, National Academy of Design, New York, National Institute of Arts and Letters,

EMIL SOREN CARLSEN
BIBLIOGRAPHY
American Art Annual, 1931- American Magazine of Art, December 1930— Vol. 21;
June 1932— Vol. 24, Page Arts and Decoration, January 1920— Vol. 12, Page 215; March 1921— Vol. Art Digest, June 1929; January 15, 1932— Vol, 6, Page 4; May 1, Art News, January 9, 1932— Page Biographical Sketches of American Artists, Michigan State Library— 3rd Edition, Book News Monthly, Vol. 33, Page Benezit, Dictionnaire des Peinteurs, Sculpteurs, Graveurs, Dessinateurs, etc.

Craftsman, April 1911— Vol. 20, Page Catalogue de Luxe of the Department of Fine Arts, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915, (San Francisco.) Forum, May 1916— Vol. History of American Painting by Henry Isham History and Ideals of American Art by Eugene Neuhaus In the Galleries of the Exposition by Eugene Neuhaus, The Carnegie Institute’s International Exhibition, (1910 1920 1930) International Studio;

Vol. 39, Page 3- April 1910— Vol. 40, Page L-Lll June 1910— Vol. 40, Page LXXXLX March 1911— Vol. 43, Pages 69- May 1912— Vol. 46, Pages 240, Lll, XXXVIII, LXXIX May 1913— Vol. 49, Page February 1915–Vol. 54, Pages CXIV, CXCXIV April 1915— Vol. 55, Page LIX July 1915— Vol. 56, Pages 64- March 1916— Vol. 5&, Pages 3-10, 47-72, 133- June 19l6–Vol. 58, Pages CXXXI-CXXVI February 1917— Vol. 60, Pages CXIV-CXII June 1917— Vol. 61, Page CV January 1918— Vol. 63, Pages XCII-XCVI June 1920— Vol. 70, Page LXXVIII August 1921— Vol. July 1922— Vol. 75, Pages 301- October 1927— Vol^ 88, Pages 53- Nation:

March 1907— Vol. March 24, 1910— Vol. 90, Page February 22, 1912— Vol. Ned Sparks’ Scrapbook, New York Times:

December 13, June 2, 1929— Section IX, Page November 16, 1930— Section VIII, Page II January 4, 1932, Pages 21- January 10, 1932— Section (art) April 26, 1935, Page April 28, 1936— Section X, Page “Pots and Pans” by Arthur Edwin Bye, San Francisco Chronicle:

June 16, 1889, Page June 30, 1889, Page July 14, 1889, Page July 28, 1889, Page August 11, 1839, Page August 26, 1889, Page September 22, 1889, Page October 27, 1889, Page November 11, 1889, Page December 1, 1889, Page San Francisco Examiner, September 27, San Francisco News Letter, April 28, Scribner’s, December 1910— Vol. 66, Pages 767-

IETFCTO O O I I A S U C S
DNIIAIN F R G N L O R E
SOREN EMIL CARLSEN
AMERICAN ART ANNUAL See AMERICAN ART DIRECTORY
Arntzen and Rainwater B
AMERICAN MAGAZINE OF ART See MAGAZINE OF ART
Arntzen and Rainwater Q229; Karpel S166; ULS
ARTS & DECORATION
Arntzen and Rainwater Q94; Karpel S85; ULS
ART DIGEST See ARTS MAGAZINE
Arntzen and Rainwater Q98; ULS
ART NEWS
Arntzen and Rainwater Q73; Karpel S67; ULS Michigan, State Library. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF AMERICAN ARTISTS.
Compiled by Helen L. Earle.

Arntzen and Rainwater E

BOOK NEWS MONTHLY
Benezit, Emmanuel. DICTIONNAIRE CRITIQUE ET DOCUMENTAIRE DES PEINTRES,
SCULPTEURS, DESSINATEURS ET GRAVEURS.

Arntzen and Rainwater E
CRAFTSMAN
Karpel Sill; ULS
CATALOGUE DE LUXE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINE ARTS, PANAMA-PACIFIC
INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION. Edited by John E. D. Trask and J. Nilsen Laurvik. 2 vols. San Francisco: Paul Elder, 1915.
Rocq

FORUM AND CENTURY
Isham, Samuel. THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN PAINTING. New edition with supplemental chapters by Royal Cortissoz. New York: Macmillan, 1927.
Arntzen and Rainwater M Neuhaus, Eugen. THE HISTORY & IDEALS OF AMERICAN ART. Stanford University, California: Stanford University Press; London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1931.

Karpel H36a Neuhaus, Eugen. THE GALLERIES OF THE EXPOSITION: A CRITICAL REVIEW

OF THE PAINTINGS, STATUARY AND THE GRAPHIC ARTS IN THE PALACE OF
FINE ARTS AT THE PANAMA-PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION.

San Francisco: Paul Elder, 1915.
Rocq

IETFCTO O O I I A S U C S
DNIIAIN F R G N L O R E
S&REN EMIL CARLSEN
[Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Annual International Exhibition of Paintings.]
INTERNATIONAL STUDIO
Arntzen and Rainwater Q188; ULS
NATION
[Ned Sparks scrapbook] New York TIMES Gregory (New York, New York) Bye, Arthur Edwin. POTS AND PANS: OR, STUDIES IN STILL-LIFE PAINTING.
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1921.

San Francisco CHRONICLE Gregory San Francisco EXAMINER Gregory San Francisco NEWS LETTER Gregory SCRIBNER’S

S P L M N A YB B I G A H
U P E E T R ILORPY
SOREN EMIL CARLSEN
b. October 19, 1853 Copenhagen, Denmark d. January 2, 1932 New York, New York
OBITUARIES

NEW YORK TIMES
January 4, 1932, p.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
January 24, 1932, p. D
WORK BY
THE MECHANICS OF PAINTING
Typewritten manuscript for a talk given by SEC before the fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, March 27, 1914. Listed in the Library of Congress, NATIONAL UNION CATALOG.
NEWSPAPER AND PERIODICAL SOURCES
CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL COURIER (California Historical Society) Vol. 25, no. 2 (October, 1973), p. 6, CHS seeks ptgs. for exh.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
March 9, 1890, p. 8, recent work WAVE July 18, 1891, p. 2, at Sea View sketching, fixing up house with Willis Polk August 22, 1891, p. 7, working on redwood subjects September 26, 1891, p. 8, “Portrait Painting,” by SEC October 3, 1891, p. 14, Bohemian Club gives SEC a farewell party October 7, 1891, p. 2, ptgs. exh. in SF, has returned East August 13, 1892, pp. 2-3, studio on Long Island
S P L M N A YB B I G A H
U P E E T R ILORPY
S&REN EMIL CARLSEN
EXHIBITION CATALOGUES
Oakland, California. IMPRESSIONISM, THE CALIFORNIA VIEW.
111.: MEADOW STREAM San Francisco, California. THE COLOR OF MOOD.

San Francisco, California. Wortsman-Rowe Galleries. THE ART OF EMIL CARLSEN, 1853-1932. January 10-February 21, 1975. 95 pp.;

b&w and color ills. 232 exhs.

Biographical essay, chronology, reprints of major articles and essays, bibliography, and checklist. Traveling exhibition.

BIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORIES
AAA 1931; 1932, obituary Benezit Dawdy Earle Fielding Mallett Smith Thieme-Becker
INDEXES
ART INDEX (Vols. 1-6, 11, 14, 17, 20-33) Monro and Monro Monro and Monro SUPPLEMENT Smith and Moure
ARCHIVAL SOURCES
Archives of American Art Bancroft Library 0520


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©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
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Language: English
Creator/Author: Emil Carlsen Archives
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