A rare and unsual piece from the Aldrin Collection. The Only Self Portrait in the collection. Framed and given a custom plate.
Anders Aldrin was a Swedish immigrant who began painting at the late age of 34. He studied at Otis Art Institute with Edouard Antonin Vysekal (1890-1939), before continuing on to the Santa Barbara School of Fine Arts and San Francisco. He worked under Frank Moreley Fletcher and among contemporaries Millard Sheets (1907-1989) and Milford Zornes (b. 1908). His modernist paintings of cityscapes, portraits and landscapes demonstrate a Fauvist impulse carried out by strong brushwork and a distinctive palette.
Born in 1889 in Stjernsfors, Sweden, Aldrin grew up in a family of little means. As a youth, he showed artistic promise but was not encouraged to pursue his creative interests. At age 22, after working for 12 years to support his family, Aldrin immigrated to Chicago. Soon after, he moved to Minneapolis and joined the growing population of Swedish farmers. There, he met and married Mabel Esther Lindberg, the daughter of a Swedish Baptist minister. In 1918, he traveled to France to serve in World War I. After a year, he contracted tuberculosis and was sent to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Prescott, Arizona. While healing, he returned to his childhood interest of painting. This convalescence served as a turning point for Aldrin. After his recovery, he moved to Los Angeles and enrolled for study at the Otis Art Institute where he studied under Edouard Antonin Vysekal. At the relatively late age of 34, he dedicated his life’s work almost entirely to painting.
From Otis, he received a scholarship and was described as “one of the best trained and most promising students.” Aldrin moved to Santa Barbara in 1927 with a scholarship to study at the Santa Barbara School of Fine Arts under Frank Morley Fletcher (a Japanese color woodblock specialist). After completing his studies at Otis, he interspersed work in oils, watercolors, and woodcuts with courses at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. In 1935, the Los Angeles Museum featured his work in his first solo exhibition.
Thereafter, Aldrin’s work was featured in many shows and received high critical praise. In 1940, Arthur Millier called his Echo Park “perhaps the only profound job of painting in this best show the society has ever put on.” Despite this praise, he never achieved a high level of commercial success. The reality of life as an artist was difficult for Aldrin, but he managed his time and money to paint.
Through the 1940s, Aldrin exhibited his work in group shows, receiving prizes and critical acclaim. He painted his surroundings; friends and family, and scenes from the burgeoning city of Los Angeles. He spent six months in New England in 1945, exhibiting his works in a solo show at the Pasadena Art Institute. In 1952, his solo show in Hafgors, Sweden, was a great success. Both artist Lorser Feitelson and Aldrin himself felt his art would have “sold like hotcakes” in Europe.
Although he participated in exhibitions, Aldrin always rejected the commercialization of his art in favor of his own unique style. When he wasn’t working in Los Angeles, he painted in Japan and Sweden, focusing intently on the use of color to reveal the essence of his subject. Aldrin’s techniques were never static, in fact, in 1969, a year before his death, he maintained his independent and modern spirit by painting in acrylic, calling it “a marvelous medium in which you can get any color you wish.”