American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
(Please Scroll Down and Page Ahead--Catalogue is Alphabetical by Artist Last Name)
Artist Name:         Birger Sandzen
Artist Dates:         1871 - 1954
Painting Title:       Poplars
Painting Date:      Undated
Medium:              Oil on Artist Board
Signature:             Signed LowerRight
Provenance:          Private Collection
Condition:            Excellent
Size Unframed:     12 x 10
Frame Condition:   Mint Reproduction
Artist Best Price:   $632,500
Offered At:            SOLD
Curator's Comments: Sandzen (pronounced Sand-zane) dominates from the Mississippi to the
Rockies, typically painting in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. His focus may
account for the fact that famed investor Warren Buffett once owned a Sandzen. More important,
Sandzen's fauvist impressionism grows out of the heavy metallic soils of the foothills and the vibrant
colors released by the spring rains that struggle hard to bring life in the form of the wind twisted
poplars, aspens, cottonwoods, junipers and scrub pines that he loved to paint. His rich imposto shows
nature redefining the beauty of his arid landscape and its fierce spring bursts of color seen nowhere
else. "My gift to America," he wrote, "is to make one realize how beautiful the simplest landscape is
and how alive, vigorous and changing our trees and rocks are." Only when he was able "to understand
the country about me and about its formation," Sandzen emphasized, "could I paint an American
landscape and show how beautiful it was to those who had not yet realized how lovely America is. The
gift of understanding beauty is the greatest anyone can make to another human being."

Born in Blidsberg, Sweden, as a child Sandzen studied under Olof Erlandsson at the College and
Academy of Skara, and went on to Lund University. He joined a group of young artists at Anders Zorn’
s suggestion, and studied with both Zorn and portrait painter Richard Bergh, before leaving for Paris to
study with Aman Jean, who shared a studio with Georges Seurat, and where he began to associate with
American students. On returning home in 1894, he read
I Sverige by the young Swedish-American
educator, Dr. Carl A. Swensson, a college president who told of his struggles on the plains of Kansas
and challenged other young Swedes to come help him. Sandzen was excited by the proposition and
wrote Swensson a letter asking if he could use a young artist who could sing tenor and teach French.
As soon as Sandzen received the cable offering him a job, he accepted. Birger soon realized Lindborg
was where he wanted to make his home with the inspiring atmosphere of the new College and energy
of the young teachers and president. He built a home, where he continued to live for fifty-four years.
In 1900 he married Augusta Alfrida Leksell, a gifted pianist. He remained on the faculty until 1946.
He first painted in the Colorado Springs area in 1916, and became a frequent visitor to Santa Fe and
Taos, beginning in 1918. He spent the summers of 1923-24 teaching at the Broadmoor Academy in
Colorado Springs. Sandzen also taught in Denver, at the Kansas City Art Institute, and Utah State, in
Logan, the repeated setting for many of his Poplar pieces including our offering (see below for another
version at moonrise). His early work was Tonalist in style in the manner of Scandinavian
Romanticism, but after he began taking trips to Colorado, with the Rocky Mountains as subject, his
work became much more Expressionist and Fauvist, as he evolved a very personal style of bold color
and with masses of paint, akin to that of Vincent Van Gogh and Fauve painters Paul Cezanne and
Henri Matisse. His work is in the collections of the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the
Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University, the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the
Museum of New Mexico, the Wichita Art Museum, the Museum of Nebraska Art, and many others.
Sandzen at Work, ca. 1920
Autumn Symphony recently
sold for $495,000
More Poplars--Moonrise in
Logan, Utah brought $150,00
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