Born: Bildsberg, Sweden 1871
Died: Lindsborg, Kansas 1954
Impressionist landscape painter of the Rockies, graphic artist, teacher
Son of a Lutheran minister, Birger Sandzen received all of his art educations in Europe. He was an 1890 graduate of the College of Skara in Sweden with further study at University of Lund. The pupil of A. Zorn and R. Bergh, he studied painting at the art school of Stockholm’s Artists’ League, then with Aman-Jean in Paris. He emigrated to Kansas in 1894, to teach aesthetics and painting at Bethany College, as professor until 1945 and thereafter as professor emeritus. He accumulated a collection of 500 of his own Western paintings and drawings.
He first painted in the Colorado Springs area about 1916, teaching at Broadmoor 1923-24. He also taught at Denver and at Utah State College. Sandzen was primarily a landscape painter specializing in Rocky Mountain scenes. His style was after Van Gogh, with masses of paint and impressionist palette. Sandzen was also a frequent visitor to Santa Fe and Taos, beginning 1918. In 1922 he exhibited with the Taos Society of Artists in New York City, alongside the New Mexico painting giants of the day.
Resource: SAMUELS’ Encyclopedia of ARTISTS of THE AMERICAN WEST,
Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing