Carl Dahlgren, an artist of San Francisco, was born March 12, 1841, in the kingdom of Denmark. He is the third in a family of nine children, whose parents were Ulrich and Sophia (Basa) Dahlgren, both of whom were natives of Denmark, representing ancient Scandinavian families. The son began his education in the public schools of Skjelskior, his native town, and at the age of fourteen years put aside his text-books, prompted by a desire and ambition to become a painter and artist and wishing therefore to prepare for this field of labor. At the age of nineteen years he removed to Copenhagen, and while in that city was employed in his uncle's book store. He continued to act in that capacity until 1864, when there came a decided change in his life from the routine of mercantile experience to that of military service. He enlisted as a volunteer in the Austrian and Prussian war and continued with his command until the close of hostilities in 1865.

Mr. Dahlgren then returned to Copenhagen, and in 1867 saw the fruition of his cherished desire, for in that year he entered upon the study of art, first under the direction of his uncle, Asmos Kaufman, while soon afterward he became a student in the Academy of Fine Arts at Copenhagen, and he completed his studies there under the noted artist, Charstn Henreksen, in his private academy, in the fall of 1869. Subsequent to this time he traveled over the provinces of Denmark and in 1872 came to America, locating first in Salt Lake City, where he was employed as a draftsman in the surveryor general's office, remaining there for three years. On the expiration of that period he opened an art school in Salt Lake City. In the meantime he had made trips with the surveying parties sent out by the governor general, and on such trips he was enabled to secure sketches of sections of the country which up to that time had not been explored and which in after years proved very valuable in his artistic work. Mr. Dahlgren to-day bears the distinction of being one of the finest artists on the Pacific coast. He has made continued advance in his profession and his works include landscapes, figures and portraiture.

On leaving Salt Lake City Mr. Dahlgren came to California in 1878 and resumed his profession with a studio in San Francisco, where he has continued up to the present time. Some of his paintings are scenes taken from the Latin quarter of San Francisco, and on these he has won the highest commendation and compliment. He also does excellent pen-and-ink work for illustrating purposes, and for a number of years was head illustrator on the California Magazine. His inherent love of beauty in form and color has been developed through close study and effort, and to-day the work of Carl Dahlgren ranks among the best productions of the west.

In 1878 occurred the marriage of Mr. Dahlgren and Miss Amalia Kjaer, a native of Denmark. They have made their home in Oakland for the past twenty-five years, and four children have been born to them: Reuben K., Dagmar, Carl Milton and Ulrich. Mr. Dahlgren is a member of the San Francisco Art Association. He is widely known in the west and has a host of warm friends in San Francisco, his disposition being affable and genial, his manner at all times courteous and that of a refined and cultured gentleman.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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