Defined with his self-bestowed identity as “The Vagabond Artist”, Carl William Brandien set out to travel the world on quests to discover and paint beauty from every corner of the world. Joined by his wife Kaye, ironically a survivor of the sinking of the Lusitania whom he met onboard a steamer voyage to California, they began their “Vagabondage” tour in 1930. Beginning in the West and onto Hawaii and beyond, they came back to the islands in the shadows of the World War that was erupting in 1937. Brandien was an American soldier in France during World War I.
Originals by Brandien are very seldom available, and only a handful of Hawaiian scenes have ever been discovered. The majority of his artistic output is held in a large collection bequeathed to the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center of Meriden, Connecticut, who held a 120-plus exhibition of his works in 2005. Besides this, his commission to paint the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets as a gift for President Franklin Roosevelt today hangs in his Hyde Park presidential collection, and a portrait of the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera that still hangs in the Met.
Professionally, Brandien’s art and personal story was celebrated during his career, with numerous articles printed about his travels and painting. He often blended the natural beauty of his surroundings with the best of humanity’s architectural achievements, often churches. Born in New York, he re-established himself in the New York art community in the 1940s with his colorful and bright paintings that emphasized the positive side of life in a very bleak period of world history, and he later lived in Georgia and Florida. He won several awards, some with the National Academy of Design.
Among the several exhibitions of his work, Brandien held shows at the Barbizon Plaza Art Gallery in conjunction with the 1939 Worlds Fair in New York City, and followed with shows throughout the United States.