Carl Sprinchorn


Carl Sprinchorn (1887–1971) was a Swedish-born American artist who studied under Robert Henri and who adopted a style of realist modernism that admiring critics saw as both abstract and revolutionary. His oil paintings and works on paper showed a wide range of subjects. He made cityscapes and street scenes, seascapes and beach scenes, bucolic landscapes and farm scenes. He drew famous dancers, society figures, and both urban and rural men at work. As one critic put the matter, "He has the rare quality of making whatever subject he essays interesting and unusual, be it bouquets of flowers, riders in six-day bicycle races, Spanish dancers or straight American landscape." He achieved acclaim for pictures he made while living in New York and during extensive travels. In 1918, a critic said his drawings showed the kind of "bold pen outline" and gift for "incisive statement" that could be seen in work by British caricaturist, Thomas Rowlandson. Another critic noted a "sensuous, aristocratic nostalgia" in Sprinchorn's urban scenes, describing them as "delicate, suggestive impressions." Throughout much of his career Sprinchorn's floral paintings in oil, pastel, and watercolor also attracted critical attention. Reviewing watercolors exhibited in 1928, a critic praised a "subtle relation of colors" in a floral work and said that "if colors could sing," these would "chant melodiously." Sprinchorn made extensive visits to camps and hamlets in the North Maine Woods and the paintings and drawings he made there came to be his most celebrated works. Regarding a cluster of posthumous exhibitions held in 2002, a critic wrote, "In Sprinchorn's hands, the Maine woods come alive through the actions of men who are most comfortable among the trees: hunters, trappers, lumberjacks and river drivers, mostly. These large, rugged images are full of earthy colors that recall the blue-chill of winter, the blaze-orange glow of autumn and the shadowy scenes that accompany nighttime campfires..."

Writing in 2002, a biographer wrote of a contrast between the sophisticated urban focus of much of Sprinchorn's work and the unsophisticated rural focus of his output from the forests of Maine. Calling him a "composite of opposites," she said he was as much at home in the New York art world with its sophisticated artists and wealthy patrons as he was in rural boarding houses and lumber camps.

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Artist, landscapist, painter

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Carl Sprinchorn, Sprinchorn

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Information from the Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License. Accessed June 7, 2024.