The Redfern Gallery
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Carl Oscar Borg (1879-1947)

Painter, illustrator, etcher. Born in Dals-Grinstad, Sweden on March 3, 1879. From a poor family, Borg began copying pictures from books as a child. At 15 he was apprenticed to a house painter and at 20 moved to London where he worked as an assistant to portrait and marine painter George Johansen. Borg began to paint seascapes at this time. In 1901 he sailed for the U.S. and worked as a house and furniture painter in the East. While serving as a seaman aboard the S.S. Arizonia, Borg jumped ship in San Francisco in 1903 and decided to make California his home. Lacking funds, he walked the railroad track to Los Angeles.

He became friends with artist William Wendt who taught him painting techniques. Through the patronage of Phoebe Hearst, he was able to return to Europe to study art in Paris and Rome. Upon his return, Borg taught at the California Art Institute in Los Angeles and spent six months in Honduras during 1908. From 1918-24 he lived in Santa Barbara where he taught at the School of the Arts. The interval years 1924-35 were spent traveling, and in San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Grand Canyon. He made three trips to Sweden the 1930s, and when war broke out in Europe, he was forced to remain there for the duration of the war. While in Sweden, he had considerable fame and financial success in selling his paintings of Indians and desert scenes to art collectors. After World War II ended, Borg returned to Santa Barbara for the rest of his life.

 

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