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Niels Yde Andersen

Niels Yde Andersen

(1888-1952)

Niels Yde Andersen (1888-1952) was an artist, printmaker, etcher, draftsman, painter, graphic designer, engineer, teacher and metallurgical furnace designer. Andersen was primarily known for his industrial etchings of factories & workers, steel industry scenes, harbor scenes, working class people, and landscapes, but was also known for his early scenes of boyhood youth in Denmark, impressions of domestic life, his experiences in Russia and various religious works. He worked in various intaglio processes including etching, drypoint, engraving, aquatint, and lithography. Andersen was born on March 4, 1888 and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark. He formally studied architecture and engineering in Denmark and Germany, and received only a little formal training in the arts while in Europe. He worked for a company in Europe that was related to the American Radiator Company located in Buffalo, NY. He married Birthe (née Rasmussen), who was the niece of Denmark’s most famous composer Carl August Nielsen (Danish, 1865-1931), and they had six children. Andersen immigrated to the United States in 1912 at the age of twenty-four and spent the major part of his life working the steel industry as an engineer and blast furnace designer.

From 1931-32, Andersen traveled to Moscow, Russia (now Russian Federation) as the Senior Design Engineer where his skill and knowledge helped construct the Ural District Steel Plant named “The Magnitogorsk” (which roughly translates to “Magnet Mountain City”) which was the world’s largest plant of its kind at that time.

While back in the States, with guidance from Western New York artist Kevin B. O’Callahan (American, 1902-1977), some of Buffalo’s finest printmakers came together to form the Buffalo Print Club in 1931 located in Buffalo, NY. They were given a space in the basement of the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright Knox Art Gallery), which formerly held the Art Students’ League (1902). The members set up their presses and equipment, and met twice a week in the evenings. Andersen had only begun etching when he joined the club around 1932 after returning from his assignment in Russia. Drypoint etching became his favorite medium and within a short time, he began entering exhibitions where he received praise which garnered national attention. He won prizes in exhibitions at the Albright Art Gallery, and at shows in New York City and Philadelphia.

Andersen is primarily known for his industrial etchings of Buffalo which he experienced firsthand while working in the steel industry. Referred to as the most artistic of the printmakers who “etched with an elegant line”, Andersen exhibited in all of the National Print Shows sponsored by the Buffalo Print Club at the Albright Art Gallery as well as numerous other national venues. He held administrative positions within the club and held memberships in the Patteran Society, the Society of American Graphic Artists (formerly the Society of American Etchers from 1931-, previously the Brooklyn Society of Etchers from 1915), and the Engineering Society of Buffalo.

Around 1940, the Buffalo Print Club moved from the basement of the Albright Art Gallery into O’Callahan’s home located at 620 Niagara Street in the city. At its peak in 1943, there were only 21 active members in the club, but only three artists stood out above the rest in the field of printmaking: Kevin B. O’Callahan (President from 1931-c1952-53), Niels Yde Andersen and William J. Schwanekamp (President from 1953). More can be read about the club, its members and their exhibition history on our Buffalo Print Club page.

Andersen’s work can be found in many regional and national museums & galleries, as well as private and public collections worldwide. The Library of Congress purchased his prints, and others from the club through the renowned Joseph Pennell Fund. Prints were acquired by the Society of American Etchers and Museum of Foreign Arts in Moscow, Russia (now the Russian Federation). Andersen died on October 2, 1952 at the age of 64, shortly before he was able to retire. His fellow members of the Buffalo Print Club organized a memorial exhibition for him in 1954 at the Albright Art Gallery.

Mark Strong, Niels Yde Andersen, http://www.meibohmfinearts.com/artists.aspx?ID=904, (Accessed 12/21/2011)