Dines Carlsen Information and Inventory

Dines Carlsen

(1901 - 1966)

Dines Carlsen 


Children of highly acclaimed artists must have a difficult road to travel if they want to be artists themselves. Consider George Inness Jr., William Sonntag Jr., and many others. Dines Carlsen, prodigal son of Emil Carlsen, was reportedly the youngest artist to exhibit at the National Academy of Design, at age fourteen. He won his first prize at eighteen and was elected an Associate member at age twenty-one. His earliest works are still-life master- pieces, and they are reflections of his father’s teaching. In a small brochure, Erwin Barrie, longtime director of the Grand Central Gallery, wrote that a large quantity of Dines’ and Emil’s work was discovered at Dines’ home in 1968, two years after his passing, and was later exhibited at the Grand Central Gallery in a father-son show. Three of the four paintings here were acquired by my father in 1970 and most likely came from this group. The fourth and largest piece, Bronze and Silver, I purchased many years later in 2001 from a Sotheby’s auction. Later research assistance from a private dealer friend in Virginia who had somehow obtained considerable material on the Carlsen family revealed that three of these four had been exhibited a total of fifteen times between 1922 and 1931 in major national shows and museums across the country, andgarnerednumerousprizes.Yettherewasalmost nothing written about Dines and certainly no significant exhibitions of his work over the thirty-five year span that these pieces were in my family. Whenever I heard or saw reference to his work, it was always dismissed as being simply copies of Emil’s still lifes. Dines’ work did evolve somewhat into a rougher, more granular application of paint: more tapestry- like, but that style for still lifes or landscapes seems to have been less successful, less accepted. In 2003, scholar and writer Robert Austin realized a long held dream, and got his book Artists of the Litchfield Hills published with an accompanying exhibition of this large and previously unexplored group of artists at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut. Falls Village was Dines’ home for many years and is in the heart of this region. Very active in the Kent Art Association, Dines clearly would be thought of as a major national figure within this group of Litchfield artists, yet there is less than a full page of text on him in Austin’s 130-page catalogue. As testimony to the difficulty of being the artist son of a great artist, Robert Austin had to invite the curator of the Mattatuck Museum to visit my home to see the work of Dines Carlsen and the one piece to be included in the catalogue and exhibtion, to convince her that Dines Carlsen was accomplished enough to be included. Her comment said it all: “I didn’t know he was that good.”

Dines Carlsen Gallery

No paintings by this author