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Sven Birger Sandzén


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Recent Paintings for sale...... #1....Watercolour....9 x 13....1932

Sven Birger Sandzén (1871–1954) .known more commonly by his last two names, Birger Sandzén, was a Swedish-born painter. He produced most of his work in the United States where he worked as an art professor at the Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas.

Born in Bildsberg, Sweden, Sandzén showed an interest in art at from early age, and at the age of 10 joined Skara college to study art under the tutelage of Olof Erlandsson, a graduate of the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. After graduating from the college in 1890, Sandzén studied for a short time at the University of Lund before moving to Stockholm. It was his intention to enroll at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts; however, the waiting list proved too long for him. Instead, he sought out and joined a group of young artists who were studying under Anders Zorn, Richard Bergh and Per Hasselberg. This group would later be known as the Konstnärsförbundet or “Artists League.” In 1894, Sandzén left Stockholm for Paris, where he would study under Edmond Aman-Jean. Aman-Jean introduced Sandzén to pointillism and promoted Impressionism. Sandzén’s early work displays these influences, along with a tonalist approach.

Later in 1894, Sandzén accepted a teaching post at Bethany College and moved to Lindsborg, Kansas which would be his home for the rest of his life. Teaching various languages as well as art in his first year at Bethany, Sandzén would go on to become the head of art at the college until his retirement in 1946. During his time in America, Sandzén painted many landscape scenes, including depictions of the American West, the Rockies, and Yellowstone National Park. His style of painting evolved too, and he adopted strong colourful brushstrokes, which has been described variously as post-Impressionism, expressionism and fauvism. His artwork has been compared to Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne.

In 1940, Sandzén was given recognition for promoting cultural relations between the United States and Sweden as was awarded both the Order of Vasa as well as the Order of the North Star by the Swedish Government. He also received honorary doctorates from various institutions, the Midland Lutheran College, the University of Nebraska, and the Kansas State University. Following Sandzén’s death in 1954, the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery opened in the grounds of Bethany College in 1956, where displays of Sandzén’s work can still be found.