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 Einar Lunden  (1923 - 1971)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: Landscape and still life painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Einar Lunden (1923-1971)

He was an American painter, best known for his oils and watercolors of landscapes and still-lifes.  He was born on January 9, 1923 in Staten Island, New York.  Lunden’s parents immigrated to New York in 1915 from Grimstad, a small town on the Southeast coast of Norway.  Lunden learned to speak Norwegian in childhood and traveled to the country as an adult.  Lunden’s father worked as a carpenter in the shipyards and was a skilled woodcarver.  
 
Lunden pursued art in High School and after graduation he worked as an Art Director for an advertising agency in Manhattan.  At this time he also attended the Art Students League of New York.  Lunden studied Life Drawing and Painting with Jon Corbino and sculpture with Ossip Zadkine and John Hovannes.
 
New York in the post WWII period provided opportunity for Lunden.  He was represented by Emily A. Francis, the director of Contemporary Arts, Inc. in New York City.  Lunden’s first solo show at the gallery was in 1948.
 
Lunden was part of a group of American artists that traveled to Europe in the post WWII period to find inspiration for their work.  Lunden traveled throughout Europe and found Italy to be of particular interest.  Lunden’s painting Near the Via del Tritone (oil) was selected to be included in an exhibit in 1955 at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute.  The exhibit was titled “Italy Rediscovered” and included  61 works by American painters in Italy since WWII.   In the catalogue for the exhibit, Lunden commented, “Italy was for me an affirmation, if you will, of all things I have ever felt about painting.”  
 
Lunden was invited to exhibit at the International Watercolor Biennial at the Brooklyn Museum five times.  Other exhibitions of his work included the Des Moines Iowa Art Center, Butler Art Institute, Cornell University, Museo de Arte Lima Peru, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Santiago Chile, Museum of Modern Art Rome, the Pacem in Terris gallery (parish of the UN), and the United States Embassy in France.
 
Lunden’s work was well received by art critics.  In 1951 Stuart Preston of the New York Times commented, “Einar Lunden gives his landscapes at Contemporary Arts the look of a tapestry.  They almost seem stitched rather than painted.  Small chinks of color are woven together; larger planes edge up to each other, and the results are pleasing to the eye because of the artist’s sensitive feeling for color.  By altering the directions of his planes he succeeds in giving depth to his designs.”   In a 1960 art review, Preston listed Lunden as one of a group of artists “whose submissions deserve special attention.” Margaret Breuning of Art Digest noted, “Lunden sees with his mind as well as his eyes, penetrating the inner nature of his visual experience and setting it down with soundness of craftsmanship.”
 
Lunden died on August 15, 1971 in New York City.  Painting, friends and family were his life.  
 
Sources:
Preston, Stuart.  “Variety of Styles Marks Art Shows.”  New York Times (New York) 31 Mar. 1951.
 
Saarinen, Aline. “Our Artists Find Inspiration in Italy.”  New York Times (New York)  1 May  1955.  
 
“Italy Rediscovered” 6 Mar. 1955 (catalogue excerpt courtesy of K. Salsbury, Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Library.  Email 23, May, 2011)
 
Preston, Stuart. “Art: Paris Interpretation” New York Times (New York)  13 Feb. 1960.
 
Obituary, New York Times (New York) 17 Aug. 1971.  
 
Obituary, Staten Island Advance (New York) 16 Aug. 1971.
 
Art Students League registration information courtesy of Stephanie Cassidy, archivist for Art Students League of New York (via email dated 10 Jun. 2011).

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