Oil on canvas board still life of flowers in a blue and white vase, 9 3/4" by 7 3/4" (16" by 14" in quality gold leaf carved vintage frame), signed at lower right by the noted American impressionist artist JOHANN BERTHELSEN (1883-1972). This is one of the scarce still life paintings by an artist best known for his impressionist views of New York City, and especially for his New York scenes in snow. Those works have exceeded $60,000 at auction and very often $5/10,000 and higher. Berthelsen was born into a large family in Copenhagen and moved with his mother to Michigan in 1890, then Wisconsin. While young, he showed interest in singing, acting, drawing and painting. At 18 he moved to Chicago to pursue a performance career. After 1905 he toured the United States and Canada, while steadily but surely improving his art skills, building them to the point where he would eventually make a comfortable living from his art production. For a time he studied with the Norwegian artist living in the Midwest, Svend Svensen. In 1913 the young man moved to Indianapolis, where he formed a life-long friendship with artist Wayman Adams. Both moved to New York in 1920 to expand the opportunities available to them. During this period Berthelsen was admitted to the American Watercolor Society and improved his technique with pastel. The Depression years hindered him as they did many artists. By 1935 he had joined the prestigious Salmagundi Club in New York, and by 1942 had moved to rural Connecticut, where he painted the local landscape. It was in the 1940's that Berthelsen hit his stride, painting with great sympathy and understanding the metropolis of New York City, with its landmark structures and dynamic people. Galleries and celebrity collectors began to take notice, and owning a Berthelsen of the city in the snow became popular. The 1950's and 1960's found the artist very busy, trying in vain to satisfy the demand for his canvases. He was hit by a vehicle in 1971 and never recovered fully from the shock. Today a website guards and promotes his legacy. Berthelsen painted a number of floral still life works, with great sensitivity and skill, yet they have been overshadowed by the New York scenes. This painting has been protected behind glass; the inside of the glass is dirty and any spots visible in the image are in fact on the glass. (And allow for reflections). The painting itself is in excellent condition. The desirable frame has some wear which adds to the vintage feeling.
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