Early Years (1890-1909)

Birger Sandzén began using oil paints on Sunday, February 27, 1887 following a conference with his teacher, Olof Erlandsson, at Skara College in Skara, Sweden. By December of 1889, he wrote to his father that his room was covered with thirty of his oil paintings, watercolors and drawings. From this time until approximately 1909, Sandzén’s paintings were influenced primarily by the National Romantic painting movement in Sweden. Michelle Facos describes this movement in Nationalism and the Nordic Imagination (1998, University of California Press) as concentrating on uniquely Swedish subjects and communicating transcendent truths.

Sandzén was certainly influenced by Impressionism and Post-Impressionism during this time period, but it does not become overly apparent until about 1910.