Odin Oyen Design Sketch/Painting (Pencil, Watercolor) from between 1888 and 1926

Category Art Paintings

Current price $650.00

Listing type Chinese

Location La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 US

Quantity sold 0

Quantity available 1

Bids 0

Seller nickpasse (437)

Seller rating 100% positive feedback

Medium Watercolor

Subject Architecture

Style Vintage

Region Of Origin US

Listed By Dealer or Reseller

Painting Surface Paper

Color Multi-Color

Features Matted, Signed

Year 1888-1926

Width (Inches) 35.13

Date Of Creation 1900-1949

Originality Original

Height (Inches) 16.7

Quantity Type Single-Piece Work

Artist Odin Oyen

Size Medium (up to 36in.)

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This is an original design drawing/painting (pencil & watercolor) from Odin Oyen in La Crosse WI dating back to sometime between 1888 and probably 1926 (Odin Oyin's death.) This is likely a hallway/lobby area design drawing for a theater or otherwise somewhat fancy building judging by the fine level of detail being proposed.
Odin Oyen was a prominent painter and interior designer in the upper midwest United States in the first quarter of the 20th Century. From a description of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Odin Oyen Collection (300+ items held in the Special Collections Room of the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse's Murphy Library:)
> "Interior designer Odin J. Oyen was born in Trondjem, Norway on May 21, 1865. After immigrating to the United States in 1870 the Oyen family settled in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1872. There, Oyen was apprenticed to a Madison artist, a Mr. Nelson, at the age of fourteen. In 1883 he enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago and upon graduation settled in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In 1888 Oyen joined Nelson's son Louis to form Nelson & Oyen. This association dissolved in 1890. In 1891 Oyen was joined in La Crosse by his father, Lars, a gilder and molder, and by his brother, Louis, who was also an artisan. In the following year Oyen formed a new business, Odin J. Oyen, and employed his father and brother as artists. In 1902 Oyen bought a sign and bill posting company which he renamed the Oyen-Ad Sign System.
> During its heyday (1902-1917) the Oyen firm was in demand across the upper Midwest, employing between fifteen and twenty-five artisans. Among them was Joseph Erickson, a Norwegian artist who became Oyen's first full-time artist/designer in 1895. Oyen's most significant artisan was Axel Edward Soderberg, who worked with the firm until his death in 1922.
> Oyen specialized in buildings such as churches, hotels and clubs, hospitals, libraries, courthouses, schools, theaters, and breweries. The firm is perhaps best known for the murals and paintings its artists produced for such buildings. Among Oyen's best known works are public libraries in La Crosse and Mankato, Minnesota; courthouses in La Crosse, Aberdeen (South Dakota), and Sibley (Iowa); and numerous theaters for the Finkelstein and Rubin chain. Oyen's work could also be found in banks and churches from Illinois to Montana. Oyen worked in association with many architects throughout the Midwest, most notably the firms of Schick and Roth and Segelke and Kohlhaus. Oyen's extensive knowledge of American artists such as Charles Russell and Frederick Remington, meant that he was able to provide his clients with design from an array of artistic styles.
> Although he executed residential designs and sold interior furnishings at his retail store, Oyen did not concentrate on this aspect of the business until a post-World War I strike in La Crosse affected the completion of his national contracts. Afterward Oyen concentrated on residential work, particularly in the La Crosse area. Examples of his residential work could be found in the homes of Charles Ringling, Henry Gund, S.U. Pinney, and Edward Bartl.
> In 1896 Odin Oyen married Emma Nelson, a Madison school teacher. They had two sons, Leighton (b. 1897) and Harold (b. 1900), both of whom eventually joined the family firm, Leighton as an artisan and Harold as a salesman. Odin Oyen died in July, 1926, preceded by his father (d. 1897) and his younger son, Harold (d. 1925). After Odin Oyen's death the firm continued under the management of Louis and Leighton Oyen until Louis' death in 1931. The firm then continued under Leighton's management, but the Great Depression, coupled with changing tastes in interior decoration, caused the business to fold a few years later.
Many of Oyen's designs ended up being incorporated in buildings which were later added to National and State Historic Registries, while many of his best works were lost when the buildings they were in were torn down.
In 2018, La Crosse, WI attorney Nicholas Passe acquired approximately 120 drawings and paintings from Oyen and the Odin Oyen Studios. He took these items to the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse's Murphy Library, where they were accepted for purposes of scanning so that images of the works could be preserved for posterity alongside the Wisconsin State Historical Society Collection. In April 2019 the Wisconsin State Historic Society gave permission to the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse's Murphy Library to digitize their Oyen collection. Efforts are underway to locate additional Oyen art from private collections for digitization.
This painting is the second of the Passe collection to be offered for sale. The painting can be viewed in greater detail at: The original painting is approximately 35.13" wide x 16.7" high.

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