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 Knud Erik Edsberg  (1911 - 2003)

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Lived/Active: Denmark      Known for: portrait, rural genre, landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Knud Erik Edsberg (1911-2003)

Knud Edsberg was born to humble circumstances in Copenhagen, Denmark on August 22, 1911.  His mother was a seamstress earning a meager income to support him and his sister.  Despite his underprivileged upbringing, Knud found escape and solace in drawing and showed great talent early in his life.

Edsberg, strong in his convictions to paint like the masters before him, began his own training by studying the palettes, techniques and styles of his idols: Rembrandt, Titian, Carl Bloch, P. S. Kroyer and Anders Zorn.  Although his favored style was that of the old European masters, he had a love for the Early Impressionist’s emphasis on color and light. This is evident in many of his genre paintings executed in "plein air", or in the outside environment as opposed to studio painting after sketches.  Edsberg’s thought on his generation compared to that of his idols was: “I was born fifty years too late.”  He wished for the chance to be among those he revered, and yearned for the age before landscape-altering industrialization when everyday scenery was picturesque.

The 1950’s and on brought Edsberg commissions for one of the legacies he would leave behind: portraits.  In a time when people of significance still wanted to be recognized by portrayal, he was one of the most preferred portraitists.  Another of Edsberg’s legacies includes his beloved genre paintings of old Danish rural scenes and countryside landscapes.  His rural scenes portrayed the everyday lives of everyday people.  Just as the masters before him modeled after friends and family, he too used his family and friends (especially his two children Soren and Gitte).  Edsberg spent many of his summers at a friend’s large farm in Jutland where his time spent painting and sketching ignited a great love for his country.  He would employ much of his days out in the fields with his sketch books drawing animals and livestock with great attention to detail - resulting in a proficient understanding of their anatomy, postures and instinctive mannerisms.  It was with these paintings that the integration of his technical understanding of, and appreciation for, both the Old Masters and Early Impressionists is evident in his palette, skill and technique.  The countryside genres from his later years were mainly painted during the winters in his studio, as opposed to his favored "plein air" painting during his time on the farm.

Today, his paintings hang in private and public collections in Europe and the United States.

Soren Edsberg

Information provided by Chuck Lockridge.

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