"I’m usually drawn to Carlson’s more atmospheric winter landscapes, but Autumn Sketch #1, Colorado immediately caught my eye for its vibrant prismatic palette, marking the change of seasons. The dappled brushwork used to capture the dense foliage further enlivens the scene." - Courtney S. Kopplin, Gallery Manager
More information about this painting...
In 1920, Carlson joined figure painter Robert Reid in cofounding the Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Carlson assumed the first directorship and focused his lessons on landscape, while Reid led classes in life drawing and figure painting. Eager to establish a school in their corner of America, the Broadmoor venture was conceived and financed by wealthy local benefactors Spencer and Julie Penrose, and Carlson and Reid used their influence to help generate appreciation for the state’s rugged beauty among east coast art circles. Carlson was personally enamored with Colorado’s unique terrain and breathtaking views, as well as its dense forest interiors, commenting in a 1920 article: “Nowhere outside Italy can one see such combinations of color as the afternoon wanes. I feel I have grown two feet in spiritual stature since I came out here four weeks ago. I have been painting in the Catskill mountains about Woodstock, N.Y., for 15 years, and I haven’t exhausted my subject yet. And I am here to declare that Colorado has Catskill resources on every hand.”
His time in Colorado also commenced a change in his brushwork, “[rejecting] the broader, less distinct shapes of his early paintings in favor of a more intricate pattern of shapes.” Painted in 1922, the vibrant palette and mosaic brushwork in Autumn Sketch #1 certainly bears witness to the transformation in his oeuvre during this period in his career. Although Carlson stayed in Colorado a short time and returned to Woodstock by the end of 1922 to establish his own school, aptly called the John F. Carlson School of Landscape Painting, he expressed his regrets in a letter to the Academy’s trustees and president: “It was very flattering to be asked to come out again and take charge, and if I were to follow my most personal inclinations, I should accept at once…I have so much work ahead of me (painting, and some writing) that I have no right to leave this lot. Also, we have a wonderful new son, as you probably know, that would complicate matters in pulling up stakes here.”
 “Don’t Run Away to Europe to Get Art Training and Scenery, Warns Carlson, Head of the Art Academy,” Colorado Springs Evening Telegraph, July 29, 1920.
 Mary Towley Swanson, John F. Carlson, N.A. (1874-1945): Paintings of Colorado, Canadian and Smoky Mountains, Vose Galleries exhibition catalogue, 1982
 Letter dated December 4, 1922 (Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Library)
Estate of the artist
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. C-94, ca. 1980
To private collection, Boonton, New Jersey, August 1982 to present
(verso in black marker, probably done by estate) Autumn Sketch #1
1). Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. C-94
2). Handwritten on round sticker: 187
John F. Carlson, N.A. (1874-1945): Paintings of Colorado, Canadian and Smoky Mountains, Vose Galleries, Boston, from May 11, 1982 (illus. page 11)