Carl Gustaf Nelson

Image is courtesy of the Carl Nelson papers, 1923-1989 in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Name
Carl Gustaf Nelson
Also Known as
Carl Gustav Nelson
C. G. Nelson
Carl Gustaf Simon Nelson
Carl Nelson
Born
Hörby, Sweden 1898
Died
Elmhurst, Illinois 1988
Active in
  • Boston, Massachusetts
Nationalities
U.S. States
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI
Luce Artist Biography

Carl Nelson’s slender frame, wiry white beard, and flamboyant clothing made him instantly recognizable on Maine’s Cranberry Island. He had retired from teaching in Boston and become a beloved member of the island community, where friends praised his excellent cooking and gardening. During the Depression, Nelson lived in New York, surviving on a tiny paycheck from the Works Progress Administration. He later recalled the casual nature of the government’s job offer: “My phone rang one afternoon & I was asked . . . if I would like to go to work the following morning.” During his long career, he exhibited his work in important group shows, including the Whitney Biennial. Several of the country’s top art museums acquired Nelson’s paintings, and he taught for decades. Six years before his death, he wrote a letter to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, stating “I have lived the happiest of lives between teaching and painting.” (Carl G. Nelson to Susanne Owens, April 25, 1982, SAAM curatorial file)

Works by This Artist

1934
oil on canvas
ca. 1940
pen and ink and watercolor on paper mounted on paperboard