birger sandzen
Sven Birger Sandzen
Born Sweden, 1871
Died Kansas, 1954

Birger Sandzen was encouraged from an early age to pursue his interest in art.
At the age of eight, he was given his first watercolor box and received drawing
lessons in his home in Blidsberg, Sweden. Sandzen’s formal education began at
the Skara School in Skara, Sweden at the age of ten. At Skara, he studied with
Olaf Erlandsson who introduced the young artist to oil painting.

After graduation from Skara in 1890, Sandzen studied for a semester at Lund
University in Lund, Sweden. The following year the young artist went to
Stockholm with the intention of studying at the Royal Academy. Sandzen was
disappointed to find that there were no vacancies at the Academy and a long
list of applicants. However, he learned of a class being formed by one of
Sweden’s greatest painters and etchers, Anders Zorn.  Sandzen studied with
Zorn, Richard Bergh, and Per Hasselberg in what was later to become the
Artists League.

Early in 1894, Sandzen was accepted into a painting class taught by Aman-Jean
in a studio the artist shared in Paris with Georges Seurat. Aman-Jean promoted
Impressionism and introduced him to Pointillism. Sandzen used a Pointillist, or
Tonalist, approach to painting in his work until around 1910.

Sandzen learned about an opening on the faculty of Bethany College in
Lindsborg, Kansas from a classmate in Paris and immediately wrote a letter
requesting the position.  He was hired by the college and relocated to Kansas in
the fall of 1894. In addition to assisting in the Art Department, Sandzen began
his first year instructing in German, French, and Swedish. In 1899 he was
appointed principal art teacher and head of the Art Department. Sandzen held
both positions until his retirement in 1946, after which time he was professor

Sandzen first visited the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in 1908 and began
painting in the Colorado Springs area around 1916. The artist made his first trip
to New Mexico in 1918 and was a frequent visitor to Santa Fe and Taos in the
years that followed. He was elected an associate member of the Taos Society of
Artists in 1922. Sandzen spent the summers of 1923-24 teaching at the
Broadmoor Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado (presently the Colorado
Springs Fine Arts Center). Birger also taught at Chappell House (the forerunner
to the Denver Art Museum), Utah State Agricultural College, Stephens  
College, the University of Michigan, and the Kansas City Art Institute. Though
he traveled often, Sandzen continued to live in Lindsborg until his death in 1954.

Exhibited: Gothenburg Art Society, Sweden, 1893; Stockholm, Sweden, 1897,
1911, 1931, 1948, 1957; Lund University, Sweden, 1912; Kansas City Artists,
1917 (prize); Society of Independent Artists, 1917-18; Pennsylvania Academy of
the Fine Arts Annual, 1918; Chicago Society of Etchers, 1919; Washington Art
Club, 1920 (solo); Philadelphia Watercolor Club, 1922 (prize); Babcock Gallery,
New York, 1922 (solo), 1924; Palace of Fine Arts, Rome, 1924, 1926; Uffizi,
Florence, 1927; Kansas City Art Institute, 1932 (solo); William Rockhill Nelson
Gallery, 1933, 1938, 1947; Taos Society of Artists; Gummesons Konstall
Gallery, Sweden, 1937 (solo); Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles; Oakland;
San Francisco; Ulriceham Museum, Sweden, 1985 (retrospective).

Works Held: American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia; American
Swedish Institute, Minneapolis; Art Institute of Chicago; Bethany College,
Lindsborg, Kansas; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; British Museum, London;
Brooklyn Museum; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; Corcoran Gallery,
Washington, D.C.; Denver Art Museum; Des Moines Art Museum, Iowa; Detroit
Public Library; Kansas City Art Institute; Library of Congress; Metropolitan
Museum of Art; Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe; National Museum of
Stockholm; New York Public Library; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Sandzen
Memorial Gallery, Lindsborg, Kansas; Stockholm Art Museum; United States
Post Office, Halstead, Kansas (mural); United States Post Office, Lindsborg,
Kansas (mural); Yale University Art Gallery; Kansas.

©David Cook Galleries, LLC
The Birger Sandzen Reference website offers information for those seeking to research, buy or sell the art of Sven Birger Sandzen.  An artist
biography, an image gallery with examples of Sandzen's work and book references are included.  Additionally, there are links to available works for
purchase as well as information on how to obtain a free evaluation on paintings by Birger Sandzen