Lot 12
  • 12

Emil Carlsen 1853 - 1932

150,000 - 250,000 USD
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  • Emil Carlsen
  • Red Carnations and Delft (Red Carnations)
  • signed Carlsen (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 24 5/8 by 18 5/8 inches
  • (62.5 by 47.3 cm)
  • Painted in 1875.


LeRoy Ireland, 1921 (acquired from the artist)
Maguerite Ireland (his wife), 1970
A New York Family Foundation, 1972 (acquired from the above; sold: Sotheby's, New York, November, 29, 2006, lot 153, illustrated)
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale


Buffalo, New York, Burchfield Center, State University of New York College at Buffalo, Recognizing the Painterly Tradition in American Art, 1850-1920: From a Western New York Collection, March-May 1980, no. 11, illustrated in color p. 16

Catalogue Note

Born in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, Emil Carlsen began his artistic career as a student of architecture and emigrated to the United States in 1872 at the age of 19. He initially lived in Chicago, where he dedicated himself to becoming a full-time painter, and moved to various cities across the country before ultimately settling in New York City in 1891. Carlsen’s European heritage manifests itself through his oeuvre, which exhibits strong ties to the still life paintings of the 17th century Dutch masters. He was also deeply influenced by the work of the 18th century French painter Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, who impacted both Carlsen’s style and choice of subject matter.

Executed in 1875 during a six month stay in Europe, Red Carnations and Delft is an example of one of the artist’s early works, which he produced before gaining widespread recognition as a painter. Carlsen presents a bouquet of bright red carnations burgeoning from a blue vase set behind an opaque white bowl highlighted with splashes of the same blue hue. The objects exist in an ambiguous space and seem almost to float on the surface of the richly hued red canvas. William Gerdts observed that Carlsen’s “arrangements are always subtle, never jarring, and always suggest great tranquility” (Painters of the Humble Truth: Masterworks of American Still-Life Painting, 1801-1939, Columbia, Missouri, 1983, p. 230).