Nelson Sandgren: An Artist’s Life
Essay © 2016 by Roger Hull
© 2016 by the Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Hardcover, full color, 88 pages; 81 illustrations
Distributed by University of Washington Press
Available at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art
The Oregon artist Nelson Sandgren (1917-2006) worked in three distinct media—oil painting, watercolor, and lithography—distinguishing himself in each of these modes throughout his 65-year career. "Nelson Sandgren: An Artist’s Life" is the first in-depth study of this mid-century Oregon modernist who was born in Canada, grew up in Chicago, and moved with his family to Oregon during the Depression. As a watercolorist who loved to paint on-site, often at the Oregon coast, Sandgren worked in the tradition of Winslow Homer and John Marin. In oil painting, he combined modernist abstraction with Pacific Northwest landscape imagery, in this practice paralleling Louis Bunce, Carl Morris, and other Oregon moderns. As a lithographer, Sandgren was central to the printmaking culture that Gordon Gilkey promoted at Oregon State University, where Sandgren taught for 38 years. Roger Hull provides a detailed biography and a close analysis of key artworks as he assesses Sandgren’s significant place in Pacific Northwest modernist tradition.