Artwork Information

  • Title:

    The Cellist

  • Artist:

    Carstenson, Cecil C.

  • Artist Bio:

    American, 1906–1991

  • Date:

    about 1935–40

  • Medium:


  • Dimensions:

    10 3/16 x 10 5/8 inches

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, Gift of the artist and Blanche Carstenson

  • Object Number:


  • Display:

    Not Currently on Display

About the Artwork

Carstenson was a native Kansan. He was born in Marquette, Kansas, on July 23, 1906. Although Carstenson never attended high school, he later completed his education through assiduous personal effort, attending night classes at local colleges through much of his adult life.

Carstenson’s first interest was not art, but engineering. After two years training at Finlay Engineering College in Kansas City, Missouri, Carstenson got a job with the Western Electric Company in Kansas City. In 1927 Cecil married his hometown sweetheart Blanche Williams. They made their home in Kansas City and raised their daughter Thalia Dee Carstenson Brown there.

During the Depression years of the 1930s when work was slow Carstenson had plenty of time to make return visits to Marquette. During this period Carstenson became acquainted with the wood carvings of Anton Pearson from Lindsborg; Pearson carved humorous figure studies of local folk characters. Impressed by this work, Carstenson began whittling for fun.

In 1942 Carstenson enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he served as a lieutenant colonel during World War II. After the war Carstenson took advantage of the GI Bill to study studio sculpture techniques at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Omaha Art School. By the end of the 1940s Carstenson’s artistic interests and skills had advanced far above the level of a hobby. In 1950 the University of Kansas City hired Carstenson to teach evening classes. Cecil retired in 1962 and died on January 3, 1991.