Monday 16 January 2012

Soren Emil Carlsen

Carrying on with the short theme of artists associated with John Henry Twachtman (for Twachtman see recent blog posts of 6 and 8 January) I’m taking a look at Soren Emil Carlsen.

Carlsen (1853 – 1932) was an American Impressionist painter who emigrated to the United States from Denmark. While he became known for his still lifes and has been described as "The American Chardin," he branched out later in his career and also became known for landscape and marine subjects.

Carlsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1853. After studying architecture in his native Denmark at Copenhagen's Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, he emmigrated to the United States just before his twentieth birthday in 1872 to become a painter. He moved to Chicago to study under fellow Dane, painter Lauritz Holtz, in 1874, and continued his study in Paris for six months of 1875, enrolling at the Academie Julien before financial trouble forced him to leave.

Preferring to enter the educational system instead of seeking to become an independent artist after this time, Carlsen accepted a teaching position at the Chicago Academy of Design (soon to become the Art Institute of Chicago) upon his return to America. With his great interest in the work of French artist Jean-Simeon Chardin (1699-1779), Carlsen returned to Paris in 1884 to study that master for two years.

On his next return to America, Carlsen moved to San Francisco to become the next director of the California School of Design, continuing to paint his signature still life images after Chardin. While in California, he kept in contact with several fellow artists he had come to know during an earlier stay in New York City; he taught his students about Augustus Saint-Gaudens, J. Alden Weir, and John LaFarge, and also allowed these artists to influence his own personal style. Around 1891, Carlsen returned to New York because sales opportunities for his work were better there, and he had tired of the long hours his teaching position required.

He settled permanently in New York after this point, but his still-life images were so popular and successful that he exhibited throughout the country, returning several times to San Francisco. Elected to the National Academy of Design in 1906, where he had been exhibiting with regularity since 1885, Carlsen also showed at the San Francisco Art Association between 1890 and 1897. 1904's Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 in San Francisco also featured Carlsen's work. Carlsen passed away in 1932 in New York nine years after being the subject of a major retrospective at Washington DC's Corcoran Gallery of Art. He died in New York in 1932.

1884 Still Life with Roses and Mandolin 
oil on canvas 62 x 112 cm

1886 Haddock 
oil on canvas 31 x 76 cm

1891 Thanksgiving Still Life 
oil on canvas 117 x 106 cm

1895 Ruby Reflection 
oil on canvas 41 x 37 cm

c1895 Roses and Oriental Porcelain 
oil on canvas 62 x 37 cm

1904 October Summer

1904 Still Life with a Brass Kettle 
oil on canvas 41 x 51 cm

1906 Study in Grey 
oil on canvas 86 x 97 cm

1909 Moonlit Seascape 
40 x 45 cm

c1909 The South Strand 
oil on canvas 102 x 114 cm

c1909 Venice 
oil on canvas-board 22 x 25 cm

c1910-15 Bald Head Cliff, York, Maine 
oil on canvas 41 x 36 cm

c1910 Brass Kettle with Porcelain Coffee Pot 
oil on canvas 51 x 62 cm

c1910 Wood Interior 
oil on canvas 114 x 99 cm

before 1912 Open Sea 
oil on canvas 121 x 147 cm

1913 The Sky and the Ocean 
50 x 70 cm

1920 The Picture from Thibet

c1920 Connecticut Hillside 
oil on canvas 74 x 70 cm

Cape Cod 
oil on board 15 x 23 cm

oil on canvas

Still Life with Self Portrait 
oil on canvas 
(portrait reflected in the bottle)

The French Fan 
oil on canvas

Vases and Flowers 
oil on canvas

Weir’s Place at Windham 
oil on board 62 x 75 cm


  1. Hi, I've just found this blog and appreciate the quality of the art you select. For this painter, #'s 13 and 18 really appeal to me. Also, in your recent blog re: Searle, the art you've included seems an excellent sampling of his work. Thanks!

  2. Do you know anyone that can authenticate my Emil Carlsen painting???



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