Van Gogh •
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Louis Eilshemius was born in Newark, New Jersey.
His family was wealthy and he received his early education in Geneva and Dresden. He returned to the United States in 1881 and studied bookkeeping and agriculture at Cornell University before going to the Art Students League of New York. He then returned to Paris to study under Bouguereau. For the next twenty years he traveled throughout Europe, the South Seas, Africa, and the United States, painting constantly.
Eilshemius remained quite unknown until, in 1917, he was discovered by Marcel Duchamp. This French Futurist and Dadaist painter considered Eilshemius the last of America's native painters. Duchamp and Eilshemius exhibited together at the 1917 Indépendents Show in Paris, and then Eilshemius had his first one-man show in 1921 at the Société Anonyme, a new group of painters in Paris. His talent thus was recognized in Europe before it was accepted in his own country. He continued to work until his death in 1941 producing both paintings of American woodlands and landscapes reminiscent of his travels in the South Seas. His works rank high in the history of American romantic art for their warmth, poetry, and sleepy charm. Figures move in an almost-forgotten Eden of dark, but unforbidding, primeval forests painted with a technique learned from Bouguereau and with Corot-like softness and color.