Emil Carlsen was born in 1853. His extensive art training was all European, starting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Copenhagen, the Danish Royal Academy and Academie Julian from 1884-86. Carlsen immigrated to the U.S. in 1872 and worked as an architectural assistant before teaching at the Chicago Institute of Art. In 1875, he returned to Paris for 6 months of study, and then settled in California for four years. There he became the Director of the San Francisco Art Association's California School of Design. Carlsen moved back to New York City permanently in 1891 to teach at the National Academy of Design. Carlsen's early career was marked by still lifes of yellow roses and other bright flowers. However, he gained critical recognition for rich, sensuous paintings of dead game and kitchen still lifes that made him an important figure in the Chardin revival of the 19th century. With an emphasis on subtle light and form, visual truths such as wet scales or gleaming copper became completely believable. Carlsen is recognized for his traditional representation with an Impressionistic approach to color and light.