Louis Michel Eilshemius, ‘Street in Village near Biskra’, Phillips Collection

Image rights: Courtesy of The Phillips Collection

About Louis Michel Eilshemius

Though often a misfit in the group, Louis Michel Eilshemius belonged to the impressionist-inspired generation of early 20th-century American landscape painters. After studying at the Art Students League of New York, Eilshemius continued his studies in Paris and later traveled extensively in Europe and Africa. This exposed him to such painters as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and influenced his eschewal of a rigorous academic style and subsequent embrace of the expressionist one that characterized his later oeuvre. Eilshemius primarily painted figures and landscapes, turning to moonlit cityscapes and more mystical subject matter during the 1910s. Disappointed with his lack of success during this decade, Eilshemius cultivated an artistic persona and handed out bombastic business cards declaring himself an educator, ex-actor, mesmerist-prophet, and mystic. Although this tactic earned him detractors, it won him the favor of European modernists, notably Marcel Duchamp.

American, 1864-1941