Birger Sandzén (Swedish-American)
Born 1871, Blidsberg, Sweden — Died 1954, Bethany, KS
Lived and worked in Bethany, KS
Birger Sandzén was a prolific modernist painter and printmaker whose favored images were of the Kansas landscape as well as the mighty rock formations in Colorado and the Southwest. He produced many still life paintings as well.
Sandzén’s expressive, gestural painting style incorporates thick application of impasto in bold and bright color combinations. Describing Sandzén’s paintings, a friend in 1948 noted, His use of color is so startlingly alive it is almost shocking.
His woodblock and lithographic prints project the same boldness with their vibrant yet systemic markmaking.
Birger Sandzén studied art in Stockholm with Anders Zorn and Richard Berg and briefly in Paris with Edmond François Aman-Jean. In 1894, Sandzén was hired by Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, to teach languages and to assist in the art and vocal music departments. He became the principal art instructor in 1899 and remained at Bethany for the remainder of his career.
During his lifetime Sandzén completed in excess of 2600 oil paintings and 500 watercolors. He created 207 lithographs, 94 block prints and 27 drypoints, which when the editions are totaled amount to over 33,000 prints.
Birger Sandzén paintings and works on paper can be found in most museum collections in the United States and in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a favorite ofcollectors of American modern landscape painting from the first half of the 20th century.
Birger Sandzén Landscape
Oil on canvas
Birger Sandzén Still Life
Still Life, oil on canvas, 22 x 16 inches