Photography Credit:

Louis Michel Eilshemius
Birth Date:
Death Date: December 29, 1941

Artist Gallery
Born in Newark, New Jersey to a wealthy high-society family, Louis Michel Eilshemius was educated in Geneva and Dresden and later at Cornell University. Eilshemius has been mistakenly labeled as a naïve artist, a painter who was presumably self-taught and technically weak. Actually, he received a formal art education, his drawings were excellent, and he could do very realistic scenes. He preferred, however, to paint his naïve landscape peopled with nude female nymphs and other simplified forms, as his imagination suggested. In his later years, Eilshemius was destitute, as artist recognition eluded him, becoming quite eccentric. He painted on printed pages from books, cig-box lids, and any other surface he could find; in fact Eilshemius used unusual material and technique to create this expressive river scene. The support for this painting is a musical score sheet glued to a Masonite panel. He published his books of music, prose, and poetry at his own expense, circulating, self-praising pamphlets and writing outrageous letters to the editors of many newspapers. Eilshemius was so desperate for attention that he resorted to hysterical outbursts, for which he became infamous. Eventually the art community began to see him for the talented artist that he was; Marcel Duchamp in 1917 a leader of the Avant-Garde movement “discovered: Eilshemius and invited him to exhibit with him in Paris that same year. But after a critically reviewed exhibition in 1920, Eilshemius gave up painting entirely by 1921. Injured in an automobile accident in 1932, he became increasingly reclusive. His health in decline and his family fortune spent, he died in 1941.