Artist dating non artist
The portrait must have been a challenging task for Elwell as boys of his age are reluctant to stand still and the crumpled look of his white suit is an indication of much movement.
Elwell would often visit Warrener at his apartment on rue Ravignon and would see the walls of his rooms covered with paintings he had done of the nightlife of the Moulin Rouge.In my second look at the life and works of Fred Elwell I want to concentrate on his masterful portraiture.In the last blog I left Fred Elwell studying in Paris with his friend Claude Rivas. They had found themselves some rooms and had enrolled at the Académie Julian under the tutorship of William-Adolphe Bouguereau.As I mentioned in the first part of the Fred Elwell story, the first time he was allowed to paint live nudes was when he moved to Antwerp.One of his best works of a female nude was completed in 1935 and was simply entitled and can be found at the East Riding of Yorkshire Council Museum.Fred Elwell blossomed under this heavy workload and managed to win a number of these prizes during his stay.
Friendships were born at this Paris academy and Fred developed long term and special friendships with two other English artists, Richard Jack and the Lincoln-born, William Tom Warrener.
Bouguereau was far more than just a teacher of art at the Academy, he was a fierce defender of the academic method of teaching art.
He was also the chairman of the selection panel of the Paris Salon and thus had, with the other jurists, the power to accept or refuse submitted entries for the annual exhibitions and the jurists’ refusal to accept non-academic art angered many such as Paul Cézanne, Manet and Whistler.
Another facet of Paris life which Elwell took to was what we now term as which he continued to follow when he returned to England.
However, life in Paris had its downside for Elwell, as with most wannabe artists the burden of financial problems was ever present and Elwell’s financial predicament, despite the odd help from his father, was the same, so much so that he had to give his beloved portrait of Léonie to his landlord in lieu of rent.
Elwell realised that the streets of London were not paved with gold and soon he became very despondent with his lack of success.