APRIL 2024 AUCTION,

LOT 317

Birger Sandzén

1871-1954

Summer in the Mountains

MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

DIMENSIONS: 60 x 80 inches

ESTIMATE: $250,000.00 - $350,000.00

Signed and dated 1923 lower left

SHIPPING DIMENSIONS: 66 x 86 x 3 inches

Additional Information

Provenance:
The artist
John S. Ankeney (Director of Dallas Fine Art Museum, 1929-1935)
Bequeathed to Bethany College, Lindsborg, KS
Auction in Santa Fe, 2011
Private collection, California
Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, Reno, NV, 2015
Private collection, New Mexico, 2015

Born in Sweden in 1871, Birger Sandzén never strayed far from his interest in painting. As soon as he was able, he began studying art in Sweden and later in France, as well as getting instruction and motivation from Anders Zorn, Richard Bergh and Per Hasselberg, one of Sweden’s top sculptors. After returning to Sweden from France in 1894, a friend sent Sandzén a booklet on Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. He was immediately intrigued by a line in the booklet referring to Lindsborg as “Little Sweden.” By the end of that year, the artist was in Kansas teaching French, art history, drawing and painting at Bethany College. Later travel to New Mexico and Colorado helped refine his artwork, which would soon include bright patches of thickly applied paint. The combination of impressionism and heavy impasto within Western subjects was quite unique at the time, and it elevated Sandzén’s presence in the United States. Although he would continue to travel around the country, Sandzén always returned to Lindsborg, which is where he died in 1954, 50 years after he arrived.

This massive Sandzén work, painted in 1923, was first acquired by John S. Ankeney, the director of the Dallas Fine Art Museum. He later bequeathed it to Bethany College, where Sandzén remained on the faculty through 1946.

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