Svend Rasmussen Svendsen was a master artist in capturing elements in nature which would coexist perfectly with one another. The term seeing through the eyes of an artist is a statement that perfectly describes ones thoughts while looking at a painting by Svend Svendsen.
Born in Norway in 1864, Svendsen studied with the very prominent Norwegian artists Fritz Thaulow and Edward Ertz. Together they were able to incorporate a style which were influenced by the Barbizon school and French Impressionist, but were also unique to their Nordic background. Svendsen's approach to painting was more luminescent than the Barbizon school, while being more naturalistic than the Impressionists. While studying with Ertz, Svendsen painted this summer landscape, recently at auction, titled "The Stone Bridge," atypical to his common nocturnal snow scenes:
Svendsen emigrated to Chicago at the age of 17 in 1894. In Chicago, Svendsen was instantly recognized as a talented artist. Between 1895 and 1920, Svendsen frequently exhibited works at the Art Institute of Chicago. Svendsens incredible talent was highlighted when his painting won the Art Institutes Fortnightly prize, which was an annual award given to the best work by a young artist. He would go on to win prizes at the Nashville exposition of 1897 and St. Louis exposition of 1904. He also held one man exhibitions at some of Chicago's most prestigious galleries. These successful exhibitions laid the foundation to Svendsen's distinguished career.
Svendsen's beautiful landscapes are what sets him apart from other artists. He had the incredible ability to capture the pure essence of the natural world with his plein air style. While the elements of his paintings are rendered very realistically, he would often use light to romanticize the landscape. Whether is was the suns rays illuminating his landscapes with a complex array of colors and reflections. Or one of his calm and tranquil pastoral landscapes set in a idealized setting, the dimly lit cabin in the woods exhibiting nature and human beings coexisting perfectly.
Svendsen was also a master at leading your eye on a journey through his works. Like a maestro to his symphony, Svendsen directs you through a work in the way he perceives it. Sometimes it would be a winding stream journeying you through an entire work, capturing every little detail along the way. Or a straight path, leading you through a peaceful collection of cottages blending in with their surroundings. Svendsen understood the importance of creating these moods in his works.
Today, Svendsen's works are displayed throughout the country in institutions such as the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian. Svendsen's works are mostly concentrated in the Midwest, particularly in Chicago, often times coming up at auction or sold in galleries. Additionally, MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. has researched and appraised several Svendsen works over the years and has facilitated the sale of such pieces in the past. The affordability of his work opens up his appeal to a wide range of collectors. No matter if you are a novice collector or seasoned veteran, a Svend Svendsen painting would look great on any wall.
Researched and written by Robert Snell
MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.
Principal Appraiser: Farhad Radfar, ISA AM
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 814-8510
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