S. Ohrvel Carlson has pursued a life long dedication to fine art that has won him national acclaim. Inspired by such diverse phenomena as a haunting music theme, a stately Gothic Cathedral or a stormy day on the New England coast, Carlson's matchless technique serves his emotional power whether in location sketches, figure painting, land and seascape painting - all of which attest to his 135 fine art awards.

Born in New Jersey, Carlson studied at the Newark Art School, the Art Students League with George Bridgeman, Frank V. DuMond, and Harvey Dunn. His early career, handicapped by the Depression, led him to travel the world over as a seaman in the Merchant Marines for three years. Several years as a W.P.A. mural painter preceded his entrance into the U.S. Army in World War II.

Carlson filled dozens of sketch books with pen and ink drawings of his world travels and his experience as an infantry soldier in the U.S. and Europe.

Out of uniform and at last able to plunge headlong into an art career, he worked in New York and Philadelphia as an illustrator on the way to becoming one of the country's leading artists. His exhibitions throughout the U.S. gathered 40 awards in the 50s and 60s and toured art museums in 10 midwestern states.

His commissions include a portrait of Pope John XXIII, a sculpture in the Thomas A. Edison Museum (now a national shrine), murals for the Rahway N.J. Public Library and murals in England for the U.S.O. during World War II.

Paralleling his passion for painting is his musical involvement with classical violin as well as jazz. He has composed a choral work for the Rockport Community Chorus and a march for the Rockport Legion Band.

Music provides a recurring theme for much of his painting as evidenced in his painting of Debussey's "The Sunken Cathedral", Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade", Mahler's "2nd Symphony", Chopin's "F-Minor Fantasy", and "Concerto in E".

Carlson's work is in collections throughout the world including the Vatican Contemporary Art Collection, Rutgers University and H.R. Macy. He has had one man shows at the Fitchburg Art Museum, the Rockport Art Association, the Old Mill Art School in New York, the Marblehead Historical Association, and the Swedish-American Museum in Philadelphia where he showed with his wife Carol, a distinguished photographer.

American Artist Magazine featured his article on watercolor. His paintings have appeared on covers of Magazine of American Financial History, American Legion Magazine (twice), Yankee Magazine and Pennsylvania Magazine and on centerfolds in both magazines. He has demonstrated throughout the east coast including a demonstration for the American Watercolor Society at the National Academy in New York.


Gold Medal National Show
Swedish American Museum of Chicago

Grumbacher Award
North Shore Arts Association

Gold Medal
New Jersey Watercolor Society

Purchase Prize - Bamberger
H.R. Macy Department Store



Mr. Carlson's work is included in

The Vatican Contemporary Art Collection

The Thomas A. Edison Museum

Rutgers University

Private collections around the world

© 2003 Carlson Fine Art Gallery • All rights reserved