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Emil Carlsen and Carlsen family photographs, circa 1885-circa 1930, bulk 1910-1930

Carlsen, Emil, 1853-1932

Art teacher, Painter

Collection Information

Size: 1.6 Linear feet

Summary: The photographs of Emil Carlsen and the Carlsen family measure 1.6 linear feet and date from circa 1885 to circa 1930, with the bulk from circa 1910 to circa 1920s. Included in this collection are 169 glass plate negatives, black and white copy prints of all glass plate negatives, and four plastic safety negatives. Some descriptive annotations by Emil Carlsen are included.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter Emil Carlsen (1853-1932) was born Soren Emil Carlsen in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1853. He studied architecture at the Danish Royal Academy for four years, and also painted alongside cousin and painter Viggo Johansen, one of Denmark's most notable painters. In 1872, he immigrated to the United States where he worked as an architectural assistant and as an assistant for Danish marine painter Laurits Bernhard Holst (1848-1934) in Chicago, Illinois. After studying in Paris for several years, he set up a painting studio in New York and then Boston, then spending two years (1887-1889) as the Director of the San Francisco Arts Association School. In 1891, he moved back to New York and taught at the National Academy of Design until 1918. He spent most of his time with his family at their vacation home in Falls Village, Connecticut when he didn't have teaching commitments in New York, where they also kept an apartment. In 1904, after struggling to become known for his work for many years, he was elected as an associate of the New York National Academy; he won the Shaw Prize from the Society of American Artists; and was awarded the Gold Medal at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis for his still-life "Blackfish and Clams". Carlsen is best known for his still-life paintings and has been called "The American Chardin." Before purchasing his own property in Falls Village, Carlsen stayed often with friend and painter J. Alden Weir (1852-1919) at his farm, painting landscapes.


The Emil Carlsen and Carlsen family photographs were donated to the Archives of American Art on June 28, 1995, by Elizabeth M. Campanile of Campanile Galleries, Inc., which were purchased from the Dines Carlsen Estate.

Language Note

Collection is in English.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.