About This Artwork

Emil Carlsen
American, born Denmark, 1853–1932

Nantasket Beach, 1876

Oil on canvas
38.7 x 66.8 cm (15 1/4 x 26 5/16 in.)
Signed and dated lower right: "Nantasket Beach S. EM. C. 76 26/6"

Friends of American Art Collection, 1940.1087

Trained in architecture in Copenhagen, Emil Carlsen emigrated in 1872 to Chicago, shifting his focus to painting. After further study in Paris, he relocated to Boston in 1876. Seaside tourism—a subject portrayed here by Carlsen and, more famously, by Winslow Homer—increased in popularity during the late 19th century. In Nantasket Beach Carlsen combined naturalism with a bright, light-filled palette, creating a plein-air seascape that harmonizes academic painting and Impressionism. Blue sky and white clouds fill much of the canvas. A woman with a parasol walks along the water’s edge, while two other figures rest in the sand and look out at the rolling waves and the ruins of a ship.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, "Painting Today and Yesterday in the United States," June 5-September 1. 1941, cat. 13.

San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, "American Artists Past and Present," January-March 1943, no cat.

Milwaukee-Downer College, Wisconsin, "A Century of Landscape Painting by American Artists," 1851-1951, Feb. 13 - March 23, 1951, cat. no. 9. *only checklist on back of symposium brochure, "The Arts in Society," Milwaukee-Downer College Feb. 13, 1951.

Northfield, Minnesota, Carleton College, January 2-22, 1967, no cat.

Tampa Museum of Art, "At the Water's Edge," December 9, 1989-March 4, 1990; traveled to Vero Beach, Florida, Center for the Arts, May 4-June 17, 1990; Virginia Beach Center for the Arts, July 8-September 2, 1990; Little Rock, Arkansas Arts Center, November 8, 1990-January 6, 1991, cat. not numbered.

Ownership History

The artist, until c. 1884; George F. and Mary b. Daniels, Oxford, Massachusetts and Putnam, Connecticut, c. 1884-1897; Edward F. Coffin, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1897-1923. Maynard Walker Galleries, May 1940; sold to Friends of American Art Collection, 1940; given to the Art Institute.

Interpretive Resources

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