Karl (Carl) Saxild


Karl (Carl) Saxild


Alaska Farms

Oil on Board

12 x 14 inches

Signed Lower Right

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Carl Saxild was born on 22 September 1893, in Gloucester, MA, of Scandinavian ancestry. He trained at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and spent several years in training in Paris and Denmark. Carl married and had twin children: Thelma (1926-1999) and Rudolph (1926-1982). 

Little is known about Saxild before 1937 when he was hired, along with fellow artists Prescott Jones and Vernon Smith, by the WPA to participate in the Alaska Project of the Federal Art Project (FAP). The FAP state directors from the northern states chose twelve artists with competent artistic records to undertake this project. During the adventure, Saxild and fellow artists sketched scenes in the outdoors and then translated them onto canvas or paper in hotel rooms. The artists operated in Alaska from June through November 1937. The adventure yielded over 50 paintings, the majority of which are now in the collection of Anchorage Museum of History and Art in Anchorage, Alaska. 

In 1939 Saxild exhibited at the Exhibition of Contemporary American Art at the World's Fair at New York's Flushing Meadows. Saxild worked in oil, watercolor, and lithography. His style ranges from realism to impressionism and occasionally to abstract themes. 

Few articles on Saxild can be found in the media, but of the ones that can be found all testify to the stature in which Saxild was held. As an example, an article appearing in "The Christian Science Monitor" for 17 October 1939 reporting on an exhibition held at Symphony Hall, Boston, MA, shows that Saxild was in high company with fellow exhibitors: Thomas Hart Benton, Lyonel Feininger, Karl Knaths, and John Marin. He was represented by the Addison Gallery at the Phillips Academy, Andover, MA. He was a member of the Boston Arts Club and participated in the art program of the Great Neck Public Schools, Great Neck, NY. 

Carl Saxild died in Hanover, NH on 5 January 1971. 

Compiled and submitted August 2004 by A. Rex Rivolo, Ph.D. He credits the daughter-in-law of the artist, married to Rudolph Saxild, son of the artist.