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David Ericson (1870-1946)

Axel David Ericson, born in Sweden on April 15, 1870, was one of Duluth, Minnesota's most important painters.  At the age of four, Ericson emigrated to Duluth.  Ericson was a self-taught artist who began his career by winning a prize for his work at the Minnesota State Fair in 1885.  Two years later, Ericson went to New York City to study at the Art Students League. 


In 1900, David Ericson went to Paris and studied with James McNeill Whistler.  He returned to Duluth in 1902, but spent much of the ensuing period abroad. David Ericson taught at the Albright Art School in Buffalo, NY in 1906-07.


Though his early works are rustic farm scenes, and many of his colorful paintings document his foreign travels, Ericson was a sensitive figure painter from the start.  The following is a description of Ericson's work by Thomas O'Sullivan. "Easy on the eyes, Ericson’s small and mid-sized canvases from the 1880s to the early 1940s are comfortably bucolic or genteel in subject matter. 


He possessed a lifelong aesthetic for his preferred themes of seaside vistas, quiet villages, and pensive sitters.  Plein-air work in the south of France heated Ericson’s style to a boldness of palette and touch that was a veritable homage to French Impressionism; by the final decade of his life he had perfected a process of thickly worked surfaces glazed with transparent colors to achieve what he characterized as a dreamlike quality.” 


David Ericson's work is represented at the Duluth Art Association, MN, the LaCrosse Art Association, WI, the Commercial Club in Duluth, the Swedish American Institute in Minneapolis, and in numerous other important private collections.

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