The Quiet Magic of Emil Carlsen: Private Collections


NEW YORK, New York (July 25, 2022)—The Salmagundi Club presents Emil Carlsen: Private Collections in the Grand Parlor Gallery, on view from August 1 through September 30, 2022.

Søren Emile “Emil” Carlsen (1848-1932) [RA 1903-1932] : Pewter and brass, 1929.
Søren Emile “Emil” Carlsen (1848-1932) [RA 1903-1932] : Pewter and brass, 1929.

A former Salmagundi member and former president of the club, Emil Carlsen (1848-1932) was a Danish-American painter and teacher who is highly regarded as an accomplished master of still-life painting in America. Though he is best known for his Impressionistic still-life painting, he also painted marine scenes, landscapes, and occasionally portraits. This range of work is represented in the approximately 34 works on view in this exhibition. One of the largest New York exhibitions of Carlsen’s work in nearly fifty years, the show features paintings from prominent private collectors of the artist’s works, as well as longtime dealers.


The exhibition features rare behind-the-scenes glimpses demonstrating Carlsen’s creative process. Viewers can observe studies and sketches, as well as unique still-life props used by Carlsen alongside paintings that include these objects. From Salmagundi’s palette collection, Carlsen’s artist palette is on view, revealing his use of solely white and primary colors. Also included is a still-life painting from Carlsen’s son, Dines, illustrating the influence and teaching passed from father to son. Curator Bill Indursky notes, “Dines was a child painting prodigy and his work stands tall next to his father’s.”


Carlsen’s philosophy about painting was that it provided a translation of reality onto the canvas. His choice of colors, textures and lines provide a suggestion of what he saw—the sun’s reflection on water, the polished surface of a pot, or the ruffled feathers of a fowl. One of his trademarks was still-life paintings with fine Chinese porcelain, as seen in Roses and Oriental Porcelain, ca. 1895. His choice of subtle colors, often pastel, create a soft ephemeral sensation, visible both in still-lifes such as Still Life with Ruffled Grouse, 1897, and in landscapes as seen in Afternoon Landscape, ca. 1907, and the rolling hills of Connecticut Hillside, ca. 1920. His calm balance of colors and use of brushstrokes create a sense of tranquility across the genres that entrance the viewer, gently pulling them into his meditative world. 


The exhibition is in the Grand Parlor Gallery and is free and open to the public. Viewing hours are 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday, and 1:00 to 5:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.


Salmagundi is a non-profit 501(c)(3), professional and social club, created in 1871 by artists and patrons to support one another. It is one of America’s oldest arts organizations with more than 1,100 current members throughout the United States and abroad.

The Club has continuously championed representational art from its founding with iconic members, including: Thomas Moran (1837-1926), William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), Emil Carlsen (1848-1932), N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), Childe Hassam (1859-1935) and Winston Churchill (1874-1965).

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Joseph Ralph Fraia, Chair or Charity Henderson, Vice-Chair
Salmagundi Public Relations Committee
(917) 930-1494 or (315) 506-8108