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Emil Carlsen Portrait

Emil Carlsen Portrait

Emil Carlsen

Also Known as: Emil Soren Carlsen

Copenhagen, Denmark 1853

New York, New York 1932

Active in:

  • San Francisco, California

Photo Caption:
Emil Carlsen, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0001336

Photo Caption:
Image is courtesy of the Emil Carlsen and Carlsen family photonegatives in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.


Still-life painter who first studied architecture in his homeland of Denmark and immigrated to the U.S. at age 19. Influenced by the master still-life painter Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Carlsen was a leading exponent of the Chardin revival in France.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

The Danish-born Carlsen specialized in still-life painting in the manner of eighteenth-century French artist Jean-Baptiste Chardin, whose work he studied in Paris in the 1880s. At the turn of the century, he began exploring the effects of light and the multifarious forms of nature using a soothing palette of beiges and silvery grays. During his second Paris sojourn, from 1884 to 1886, Carlsen studied the techniques of French impressionists Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir, adopting some of their freshness and spontaneity.

Elizabeth Prelinger American Impressionism: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (New York and Washington, D.C.: Watson-Guptill Publications, in cooperation with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2000)