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Oklahoma Arts CouncilOklahoma Arts Council

Emerald Lake No. 1

by Oscar Jacobson

Oil on canvas board
Dimensions: 20 x 26
Purchased through a National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1971

Emerald Lake No. 1 by Oscar Jacobson

The Artwork

This landscape of Emerald Lake in British Columbia was painted in a post-impressionist style. The artist used both a thick application of paint and block-like shapes to create a scene that seems more sculptural than natural. The use of the shocking blue-green color for the lake emphasizes and draws the viewer's attention to the center of the canvas.

The Artist

Oscar Brousse Jacobson was born in Sweden in 1882. In 1890, his family immigrated to Lindsborg, Kansas. He studied at Bethany College, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1908. He continued his studies at the Louvre in Paris, Sweden, and Denmark. In 1916, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree at Yale University. He worked as director of the School of Art at the University of Oklahoma from 1915 until 1954. Upon beginning his career with the university, he was the only member of the art faculty, but eventually oversaw the dramatic expansion of the School of Art and the creation of an art museum in 1936.

A well-traveled artist, he tirelessly promoted all arts to the young state. The genre of traditional Plains Indian art is now inexorably bound to him and to the University of Oklahoma. In the late 1920s, he and professor Edith Mahier, also of the University of Oklahoma art school, worked with a small group of five Kiowa men and briefly with one Kiowa woman. These artists, often referred to as the Kiowa 5 or the Kiowa 6, and their style became world famous and have always been associated with Oscar Brousse Jacobson. In addition, he founded the Association of Oklahoma Artists and formally advised the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project for Oklahoma in the 1930s.

Jacobson was a prolific painter of Southwestern landscapes and exhibited his work throughout the U.S. and Europe. He won numerous awards, including a gold medal at the 1931 Mid-Western Exhibition at the Kansas City Art Institute Invitational. He was made an honorary chief of the Kiowa tribe and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1949. He lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, at the Chicago Art Institute, and at more than fifty universities and colleges. His works are in the collections of the Woolaroc Museum at Bartlesville, the Jacobson Gallery in Norman, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman.