John Fabian Carlson (1874–1945)
John Fabian Carlson discovered the snow-laden regions of American landscape that would later define his life’s work when his family emigrated from Sweden to Buffalo, NY in 1883. It was here that Carlson embarked on his artistic career, joining a lithography firm as an apprentice and exploring the wintry environment of upstate New York. In 1902, Carlson left Buffalo to pursue a scholarship at the Art Students’ League of New York where he met his teacher and lifelong mentor, Birge Harrison. Following his time at the Art Students’ League, Carlson relocated to Woodstock, NY to further explore the Kaaterskill Mountains and to join one of many artists’ colonies flourishing throughout America at the time. Carlson reunited with his mentor, Harrison, when he was enlisted as a teacher for the Art Student’s League’s summer school in Woodstock in 1906. Eventually, the artist was promoted to director of the summer school when Harrison retired in 1911. Carlson held the post of director at the Woodstock summer school until 1918, when he moved to Colorado Springs to co-direct the Broadmore Academy of Art with fellow artist Robert Reid. Ever focused on the representation of landscape, Carlson returned to Woodstock to open the John Fabian Carlson School of Landscape Painting where he taught until his death in 1945.
In addition to his numerous teaching positions, Carlson was awarded the status of Associate and later, Academician, of the National Academy of Design. The artist also described his en plein air method and ability to synthesize nature with a personal sense of design and color in his celebrated publication, “Guide to Landscape Painting.” Carlson’s works can currently be viewed in collections across the country included the San Diego Museum of Art, CA, the Georgia Museum of Art, GA and the Phillips Collection and Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Cuba, Stanely. “John F. Carlson and Artists of the Broadmoor Academy.” Denver, CO: David Cook Fine Art, 1999.
Falk, Peter Hastings, ed.. “Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America.” Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.
“John F. Carlson, N.A., 1874-1945, From May 3, 1878.” Boston, MA: Vose Galleries of Boston, Inc., 1978.
Shipp, Steve. “American Art Colonies, 1850-1930, A Historical Guide to America’s Original Art Colonies and Their Artists.” Westport, CT and London: Greenwood Press, 1996.