Ellen Altfest
American, born 1970
Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Selected exhibitions
Biennial of Painting: Yoknapatawpha,
Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens
The Bent Leg,
White Cube
White Cube

With exquisite attention to the minutest details, Ellen Altfest produces naturalistic paintings that transform humble or intimate subjects—like houseplants, gourds, or a man’s underarm—into evocative, psychologically loaded objects that almost exceed realism. Altfest paints from life in every sense, faithfully recording the crevices on the surface of a gourd or each pore and every hair covering a man’s thigh. This abundance of detail, combined with Altfest’s tight framing, is at once seductive and excruciating: “I like making compositions that are awkward and go against what might be considered pleasing,” she says.

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