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Emil Carlsen

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Emil Carlsen

American, (1853–1932)
Soren Emil Carlsen was an American Impressionist painter who emigrated to the United States from Denmark. He became known for his still lifes, and later in his career Carlsen expanded his range of subjects to include landscapes and seascapes as well. During his long career, he won many of the most important honors in American art and was elected to membership in the National Academy of Design. For more than forty years he was also a respected teacher in Chicago, San Francisco and New York. He moved to San Francisco where between 1887 and 1889 he held a position as director of the California School of Design. He became friends with Arthur Mathews, who taught at the School of Design and was the leading figure in the Bay Area Arts and Crafts Movement. He then moved on to teach privately at the San Francisco Art Students League until 1891. During those years he influenced a number of young students, among them were M. Evelyn McCormick and Guy Rose, who both became leading Giverny Impressionists. In 1891, just prior to his departure, Carlsen created a firestorm by openly declaring in one of San Francisco’s leading newspapers that art education was wasted on women who were inferior pupils without self-confidence and who were expected to become school teachers and marry. Arthur Mathews published a spirited rebuttal that provoked further debate.

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