JOHANN BERTHELSEN, American (1883-1972), The United Nations, oil on canvas, signed lower right. The painting measures 18 x 24 and the frame measures 26 x 32 inches. Provenance: an Ohio estate; a Nevada private collection. Recently professionally cleaned, very good original condition. Johann Berthelsen was born in Copenhagen in 1883, the 7th of seven sons, to Conrad and Dorothea Karen Berthelsen. The parents moved in artistic and professional circles. His father was a tenor with the Royal Opera and his mother was a nurse affiliated with a prominent physician.It was in Chicago that Berthelsen met Svend Svendsen (1864-1934), a Norwegian-born landscapist who encouraged him to take up painting and who gave him his first art lesson.In 1920, Berthelsen settled in New York, establishing himself in the Rodin Studios at 200 West 57th Street, where he gave voice lessons. He continued to spend his spare time painting, focusing his attention on scenes of New York executed in the open air. As a hobby, he created pastels and watercolors featuring New York scenes. They were exhibited to excellent reviews, and in 1926, he was elected to membership in the American Watercolor Society.Berthelsen’s work is represented in numerous public collections, including the Hickory Museum, Hickory, North Carolina; Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis; Indiana University, The Daily Family Memorial Collection of Paintings, Bloomington, Indiana; the Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas; the Sembrich Memorial, Lake George, new York; Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana; Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A retrospective exhibition was held at the Sheldon Swope Art Museum in 1988. A Fond Remembrance,"Although my father never had any formal training in art, he relished the company of other artists and learned much from their comments and observations. His lifelong friendship with Wayman Adams is evidence of the dedication that both felt to their chosen craft. "One of my father's favorite haunts that figured prominently in his development as an artist was the Salmagundi Club at 5th Avenue and 12th Street. Founded in 1871, the Club was and is a New York institution where artists and art lovers can meet, discuss, critique, and just enjoy each other's company. He joined the club in 1935 as his style was just entering its mature phase. He and Wayman Adams spent many hours at the Club and regularly participated in sponsored functions. Along with the valuable suggestions and guidance he received from his fellow artists, the warmth and encouragement that they provided helped sustain him through the Depression. "His regard for the Club was such that he presented it with one of his most unique artworks — a pastel completed on both sides of the paper — and he remained a member until his death." - Lee Berthelsen
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