Louis Eilshemius

"The Complete Life" - February 10 - March 5, 1996

Kantor Gallery is pleased to present the works of Louis Eilshemius, “The Complete Life”, from the private collection of Sidney Janis Family formally the Sidney Janis Gallery. The exhibition will be shown February 10, 1996 through March 5, 1996 at 8642 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, California.

Louis Eilshemius was born in 1864 and dies in1941. His paintings reveal a gift for lyrical expression, an ability to impart an unearthly, dreamlike quality to canvas, and an extraordinary originality. Thoroughly trained in the academic manner, Eilshemius later became know as the painter of bizarre, primitive, nudes. His early paintings, landscapes, influenced by the Barbizon School and Camille Carot, differ dramatically from his late works, which are naïve and disturbing fantasies. At his best Eilshemius was a magician of his canvas, yet his unstable character and unrealistic ambitions prevented him from realizing his talent.

Eilshemius belongs to the line of nineteenth-century poets of the imagination who represent a narrow but significant strain in the American tradition. His very personal vision placed him well outside current artistic styles, both traditional and avant-garde. This unorthodoxy probably cost him the popularity he so eagerly sought, but to a certain extent his art required separation and isolation to develop its characteristic individually. And it was this individuality – his reworking of reality along highly imaginative lines – that was responsible for the unique, magical quality of his paintings, his lasting contribution to American art

-Excerpt by: Paul J. Karlstrom