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Nelson Sandgren

American, born Canada, 1917-2006


Dauphin December 17, 1917



Occupation or Type



Northwest artist

Oregon artist


A Canadian by birth, Nelson Sandgren received his art education at the Chicago Institute of Design and then attended the University of Oregon. After his graduation in 1947, he joined the faculty of Oregon State University in Corvallis and taught drawing and painting there for thirty-eight years. He continued to teach at the University of Oregon and offered workshops. His long exhibition history included shows in California, Colorado and England, as well as Seattle and Portland. The Portland Art Museum honored him with one person shows in 1952 and 1957. His murals are in the Lane County Courthouse in Eugene and the Oregon State University Library in Corvallis. The Portland Art Museum's Rental Sales Gallery has represented him.

Though he traveled widely, the Oregon coast has meant much to him and has been the main source of his interest. He was a keen observer of landscape and the sea. Stylistically he condensed the essence of the environment into simplified, dynamic strokes. Critics often described Sandgren as having "a light touch." He expressed his feelings thus: "Whether work appears abstract or literal in imagery is of no real importance. The final stylistic appearance will alter with one's own reaction and work almost always stems from the nature motif. I find in nature, particularly the Northwest, an endless array of exciting symbols to express my painting desires and necessities."

Artist biography reproduced with permission from the authors, Oregon Painters: the First Hundred Years (1859-1959), Ginny Allen and Jody Klevit.



Related People

Teacher of; Associate of: Mark Clarke (American, 1935-2016)

Associate of: Patricia Beaton Dodd (American, born 1929)

Associate of: Leonard Buell Kimbrell (American, 1922-2013)

Father of: Erik Sandgren (American, born 1952)

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