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 Sigurd Skou  (1875 - 1929)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: portrait, nudes, still life, seascape painting

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Ad Code: 3
Sigurd Skou
from Auction House Records.
Nudes on a Hillside
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Oslo, Norway, Skou was a student of Anders Zorn in Stockholm and Christian Krolig in Paris.  Early in the century, he immigrated to the U.S. where he first settled in New York.  While there he closely identified with the local art scene, becoming a member of the Allied Artists of America, the New York Watercolor Club, the American Watercolor Club, the Salmagundi Club and the Boston Art Club.  He was also a founding member of the Grand Central Art Galleries.

Moving on to Chicago in 1918, he found employment as an illustrator and became a participant in local exhibitions; in particular the Norwegian-American exhibitions of 1922, 1923 and 1926.  He also participated in exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the National Academy of Design.  Numerous award included the gold medal at the Norse Centennial in St. Paul in 1924, the Foster prize at the Salmagundi Club in 1926 and the Allied Artists of America gold medal that same year.

Written and submitted January 2004 by Edward Bentley, art collector and researcher.
The following is from Joan Dickey Charles, January 2003:

I am the niece of Sigurd Skou. He was married to my father's sister, Bertha Dickey.  The material was stored in the attic of my father's home place in Danvers, Massachusetts and led me to various museums and galleries as well as the internet.

Sigurd Skou was an Impressionist best known for his portraits of fishermen, seascapes, still lives and nudes.

Sigurd Skou was born in Fredrikshald, Norway, September 24, 1875 (birth record; some records mistakenly say 1876) and died in the American Hospital, Neuilly Sur Seine, France, October 18, 1929 (Records of American Foreign Service).

He was the son of a baker but the family was deeply interested in art and music. They were intimate friends of the composer Edvard Grieg and the artist Andres Zorn visited their home.  Zorn would become one of Sigurd's early teachers.

Skou came to the United States by himself on September 5, 1893, arriving in New York on the S.S. Norge at the age of 18.  He supported himself by working on Norwegian ships.  In 1902 he became a naturalized American citizen. (biography in the catalogue of the Second Annual Norwegian-American Art Exhibit at Chicago Norske Club, 1921 and his naturalization record).

His early art career included being an artist/journalist for the New York Herald and New York World during the Spanish American War and the Tripoli War (Nordisk Tidende, a newspaper, 1923) as well as advertising illustrations for Swift Meat Packing Company and illustrations for several books. (I have the materials)

He married Bertha Gladys Dickey, October 5, 1916 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (marriage certificate).  A son, Carl Sigurd Schou, Jr., was born September 19, 1917 in Danvers, Massachusetts. (birth certificate).  Bertha was one of his favorite models.

As he moved up in the art circles he traveled between Chicago and New York, and then Concarneau, France where he specialized in the portraits of the natives of Brittany.

He had exhibits at the Anderson and Milch Galleries in New York; Casson Gallery, Boston; Gage Gallery, Cleveland; Toledo Museum of Art; Memorial Galleries, Rochester, N.Y.  His work was shown at the Society of Independent Artists in New York; Art Institute of Chicago; National Academy of Design; Allied Artist (prizes); American Water Color Society; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Norse Centennial in St. Paul, Minn.(prize); Baltimore Water Color Society (prize); Chicago Norske Club (prize); Salmagundi Club (prizes).  He was a founding member of the Grand Central School of Art in New York as well as a member of the Salmagundi Club, Allied Artists, National Academy of Design, American Water Color Society, Palette and Chisel Club of Chicago. (various newspaper clippings and gallery programs).

His obituary in the American Art Annual, Vol. XXVI informs that he also belonged to the Boston Arts Club, Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Aquarellists of America, American Federation of Arts, National Arts Club and the American Art Association of Paris.

Tragedy struck in October of 1927 when his son died in France while he was traveling back to New York to tend to business.  Members of the Salmagundi Club and reporters met him at the dock.  Bertha had cabled them in advance. (newspaper report)  He never recovered from the loss.  Two years later he died in France.

Vesterheim, the Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa holds three of his paintings.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Sigurd Skou is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Painters of Nudes

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