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Ron Morosan

Louis Eilshemius Drawings


These drawings by Louis Eilshemius on his own letterhead paper (with the address 118 East 57th Street) were created after 1921, when he had more or less given up painting due to overwhelming discouragement (the exception being a 1937 painting of the Hindenburg disaster, now in the New Jersey State Museum).
          Though small in scale, they are nevertheless densely filled with themes and ideas that were the focus of many of his major paintings in previous years, particularly those painted after 1910. The drawings, therefore, can be regarded as his major works from the last years of his life. The “cartouche” or “badge” format is in keeping with what he called his “invented frame,” the border that he painted around the edge of his paintings after about 1910. The use of this badge or official frame may suggest something that would be in keeping with Eilshemius’ penchant for self-obsessed promotion: the presentation of an award to himself. Most of the drawings are inscribed at the bottom with an official title, as if he was awarding this particular scene a citation.
          The subjects or “scenes” within the badges conjure an image of Eilshemius in the process of recalling—i.e. in inventory fashion—the memories and accomplishments of his youth. In the drawing Who iss Itt? we see a nude girl bathing in a landscape with a stream. This composition is similar to the paintings Bathers of 1918, or Two Women Bathing of 1920. The subject, a favorite of his, recalls the myth of Actaeon surprising Artemis at her bath, and clearly indicates the remoteness of vision, or spy perspective, that generated in part the peculiar personal visions of artists like Eilshemius.

RON MOROSAN is a painter who lives and works in New York City. He exhibits his work nationally and internationally.

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