Artwork by Carl Henry von Ahrens,  The Artist’s Paint Box and Palette

Carl Ahrens
The Artist’s Paint Box and Palette

paint box, palette, paint tubes and brushes
3 x 15.5 x 11.5 ins ( 7.6 x 39.4 x 29.2 cms ) ( overall )

Auction Estimate: $800.00$600.00 - $800.00

Price Realized $518.00
Sale date: December 14th 2016

Joyner Fine Art, Toronto, auction, May 18, 1993, lot 304
Private Collection, Toronto

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Carl Henry von Ahrens
(1863 - 1936)

Born at Winfield, Ontario, he lived near the Ojibway Indian reserve as a boy and was adopted by the tribe. He was a friend of Pauline Johnson, Canadian poetess, whose father was a Six Nations Indian Chief. Crippled in his lower limbs by an accident in boyhood, Ahrens decided to become a painter when he was 24. He studied under William Chase of New York; F. Edwin Elwell, American sculptor; G. A. Reid, Canadian landscape painter; and J. W. L. Forster, Canadian portrait painter. George Innes, American landscapist persuaded him to discontinue further formal training and to develop his own natural qualities.

Ahrens worked for six years at the Roycroft Studios at East Aurora, New York. He had been invited there by its founder Elbert Hubbard and founded the Roycroft Pottery Department. He also developed his own landscape technique while there. He spent some time in California where he painted several canvases of the Franciscan Missions. He returned to Canada late in 1907 and set up a studio at Toronto. He went back to the United States to paint the mountains at Woodstock, New York from 1921 to 1922. He visited Rockport, Mass., where he painted seascapes and then returned to Canada in 1923. He lived in an old house in the heart of the Waterloo woods near Galt, Ontario. He wrote several short stories for the Periodical Press in Toronto. He died in Toronto, Ontario.

His work possessed a good sense of colour, romantic feeling for trees, excellent composition, and his technique was virile. In 1914 E. F. B. Johnston noted, “ . . . He avoids the clear skies and well-defined objects as seen through a Canadian atmosphere, preferring to paint in a low key and obtaining his results by masses of subdued colour.” The Brush and Pencil, Chicago once described him as follows “ . . . There are suggestions in his earlier work of Millet; often he recalls to you the solidity of Rousseau, the air-filled skies of Constable, the mystery of Corot. There is, however, no real resemblance to any other than himself; his style is an amalgam absolutely his own.” Ahrens was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists; Royal Canadian Academy (A.R.C.A. 1891). In 1928 twenty of his canvases owned by the late Major General Malcolm S. Mercer were sold by auction at the Jenkins Galleries, Toronto. One of these, “Woodlands Interior” was purchased by Mercer’s brother. Ahrens is represented in the National Gallery of Canada, The Parliament Buildings, Toronto, The Museum of Fine Arts, Glasgow, and elsewhere.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977