52 for 150: What’s So Special About Birger Sandzén?

It’s summer and perfect weather for an afternoon drive through the Kansas countryside. Why not pack a lunch, grab your sketchbook or camera and document the landscape like our featured artist for week 24 of our Kansas sesquicentennial video series, Birger Sandzén (1871-1954).

Born in Blidsberg, Sweden, Sandzén came to Lindsborg, Kansas and taught at Bethany College. “Sandzén is the area’s sole representative of Modernism in the early twentieth century, combining the innovations of Vincent Van Gogh with the brilliant coloristic contributions of Matisse and the Fauves.” [1]


(About 52 for 150

Every object has a story, and stories build history. To celebrate 150 years of Kansas statehood we’re featuring 52 objects (or collections of related objects)—something new each week throughout the year—from the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s 130-year-old special, and permanent collections, that represent our collective state history and cultural diversity.

Our collections are available for teachers, students, researchers and general interest, and we hope this online video program will provide insight into what’s so “special” about Special Collections. Your library’s commitment to collecting art and preserving local history makes it possible for users today and in the future to have immediate access to invaluable research material and cultural artifacts.

To make an appointment to see our collection of Birger Sandzén prints and paintings, or get help finding books and videos related to him and his work, call or stop by the Sabatini Gallery (785-580-4515). We’re located on your right just beyond the Library rotunda entrance.

[1] http://www.myers-bowman.com/gallery/campaign.html


Heather Kearns

I've been the Sabatini Gallery's associate curator since 2004 and social media coordinator since 2008. My passion is helping people “get“ art, and by that I mean creating an environment both in-house and online which fosters a greater understanding, confidence, and sense of enjoyment from the art experience. Art should be easy to access and available to everyone. I take helping people very seriously.

3 thoughts on “52 for 150: What’s So Special About Birger Sandzén?

  1. I found this site about Sandzen to be a really well written piece. My sister attended Bethany college and met her husband there. She actually met Mr Sandzen briefly before he died. Many years later I found out that my brother-in-law’s mother used to go to Lindsborg in the summers and played with his daughter. I always thought that was so cool. I have been in the gallery many many times to see differnt shows. Sandzen’s hugh paintings have always been to overwhelming and not really to my likeing. But who am I to critized a man that great? Thanks for the information. I hope other people read it and enjoy learning about this Kansas Icon.

  2. What a wonderful personal connection you have with Sandzén! I adore his use of color, and his surfaces are so thick they’re almost sculptural. We’re very fortunate to have his work in our collection. Thank you for your feedback, Benna.

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