Emil Carlsen Information and Inventory

Emil Carlsen

(1853 - 1932)

Emil Carlsen


“The American Chardin”—that’s how I first heard Emil Carlsen described. I think Carlsen was one of the first major American artists I became aware of, and it was definitely for his extraordinary still lifes. The darkly provocative still life illustrated on page 21 was by one of the first important artists I bought, around 1967 from a small New York Gallery. I don’t believe there was any especially interesting story related to its purchase. However, some years later I found an identical piece, except for one small, spherical metal object in the composition, illustrated in a Campanile Gallery catalogue. Later, I learned an interesting and a bit disturbing fact: Emil Carlsen, in his early years, was so poor that he Emil Carlsen, Spider Dahlias. Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 in. Dines Carlsen, Delft and Brass. Oil on canvas, 1922, 30 couldn’t afford to pay for live models, so he assembled a variety of simple household objects to compose his still lifes. From this humble inspiration sprang some of our finest still-life paintings. The second example also comprised a substantial part of his oeuvre—floral still lifes. This piece my father acquired from Grand Central Gallery around 1969. It possibly came from the same cache of Emil’s and Dines’ paintings that Erwin Barrie, director of the Grand Central Gallery, referred to in an early catalogue on both artists. Although these two works by the Danish-born “American Chardin” have been in the family for thirty-five years, I still find them as subtle and elegant as ever.

Emil Carlsen Gallery

No paintings by this author