1937 Birger Sandzén Landscape Painting | Vintage Seattle | Preview

GUEST: In 1946, Birger Sandzén,
the artist here, started a
little summer art session, and I was one of the lucky
few that got into that. And I remember doing the
standard drawings, and Sandzén
would come through once in a while. And the painting that I
was doing was of a donkey. And he looked at it and
he said, “More paint.” And that was basically his
idea was to put more paint
on anything you painted. APPRAISER: Well, that’s
certainly very apropos, given
the surface of this painting. Sandzén, as I’m sure you
know, was born in Sweden and
moved to Lindsborg, Kansas, in 1894 to teach at
Bethany College. And like other artists in the
region, like Thomas Hart Benton
and Grant Wood, Midwestern artists, he was aware of more
avant garde movements like
cubism or futurism and modern trends like abstraction. But he really preferred to
paint a realistic view of the
American landscape because he felt that that’s what people
could really relate to. GUEST: Right. APPRAISER: And he had a unique
style of painting where he left
a very thick layer of impasto over the entire surface. After he visited Colorado, he
brightened up his colors and
his whole palette became lighter and brighter. And this is actually
a Colorado work. GUEST: Yes. APPRAISER: It’s signed and
dated 1937 in the lower right,
and it’s also signed and titled on the reverse, “Mountain
Stream, Big Thompson
Canyon in Estes Park.” GUEST: Right. APPRAISER: His market
didn’t really take off
until the ’80s and ’90s. He was really pretty
much unrecognized in the
American marketplace. And because of his
unusual technique of
painting, he was sort of
nicknamed the American Van Gogh, but the artist
always disclaimed any great
influence of Van Gogh. GUEST: Uh-huh. APPRAISER: I think at
auction, this might bring as
much as $30,000 to $50,000. GUEST: Oops! (chuckling) Oops. Uh… No, I was thinking in
the hundreds, maybe,
but thousands, no.


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