Louis Eilshemius Drawings
These drawings by Louis Eilshemius on his own letterhead paper (with
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
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
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
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
The subject, a favorite of his, recalls the myth of Actaeon surprising
Artemis at her bath, and clearly indicates the remoteness of vision,
perspective, that generated in part the peculiar personal visions of
RON MOROSAN is a painter who lives and works in New York City. He exhibits
his work nationally and internationally.
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