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 Henry Ellis Mattson  (1887 - 1971)

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Lived/Active: New York/Massachusetts / Sweden      Known for: sea-landscape, nocturne, figure

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Henry Ellis Mattson
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Henry Ellis Mattson   (1887-1971)

A native of Gothenburg, Sweden, Henry Mattson immigrated to Boston in 1905, then settled in Worcester, Massachusetts, drawn by its large Scandinavian population.  Studying at the Worcester School of Art evenings, Mattson worked at a factory job during the day. 

After an unsuccessful bid to enter the Valand School of Art in Gothenburg, he settled in Chicago in 1915, then studied with John F. Carlson at Woodstock where he settled permanently. 

Although primarily self-trained, Mattson’s work was carried by the Frank M. Rehn Gallery in New York and he was elected a member of the National Academy of Design.  Mattson entered paintings successfully in Corcoran Biennials and Whitney Museum of American Art annual exhibitions.

Submitted by Edward P. Bentley, Art Researcher, East Lansing, Michigan

Swanson, Mary Towley.  Tangled Web: Swedish Immigrant Artists’ Patronage Systems, 1880-1940.  2004.

Biography from Butler Institute of American Art:
Landscape painter whose works sometimes seem infused with an element of mysticism, immigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1905, settling in Worcester, Massachusetts. He began pursuing his early interst in painting in 1912, moved to Woodstock in 1916 and had his first one-man exhibition in a New York City gallery in 1921.

Art reviewer Lewis Mumford wrote in 1934: "Mattson's emotions are primary, inward, self-sustained, and every aspect of his paintings is pervade by them." Historian Ernest W. Watson described Mattson as "a poetic and original painter," adding, "He belongs to no school, nor can we trace the influence of other painters on his work."

Mattson once said he relied upon "ideas that come from nowhere. I just paint what comes to me at the time. I am not interested in painting what everyone sees in nature, but of my own experiences with nature."

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