04/07/12 Aggiornato il:

Damian Elwes, 1960 | Conceptual painter



Giacometti's Studio
Damian Elwes has painted many of the major studios of the twentieth century including those of Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí.
Damian Elwes lives and works in Santa Monica, California. His paintings explore themes such as the cycle of life, creativity and the connections between all living things. His artwork can be monumental and three-dimensional, such as a painting in which visitors walk from room to room on the ground floor of the "Villa La Californie" (2006), to witness the extent of Picasso's creativity in April 1956 or an immense landscape painting on the ground, "Amazon" (1999), on which visitors can walk above the flowering plants of a cloud forest and search for the source of the river.
Elwes was born in London into a family of artists.
Salvador Dali's Studio - Cadaques, 1973
Salvador Dali's Studio - Cadaques, 1973
Bonnard's Dining Room - Le Cannet, 1943
Bonnard's Dining Room - Le Cannet, 1943
Damian Elwes 1960 | British painter | The Artist's Studio
Cezanne's Studio - Aix-en-Provence, 1902
Cezanne's Studio, Aix-en-Provence,1904
Gauguin's Studio - Marquesas, 1902
His grandfather and father were portrait painters. Both died when Damian was fifteen and left him easels and brushes. His ability in Mathematics helped him gain a place at Harvard University. At graduation, his play writing professor gave him a palette knife that had once belonged to Henri Matisse. He went to Paris where, for two years, he made paintings of the studios of contemporary artists as a way to learn from them.
In the 1980s, Elwes lived in New York, where he was an early exponent of graffiti. In 1984 some of his first paintings were chosen by the eminent London art dealer Robert Fraser to be included in a graffiti exhibition with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
His interest in ancient and contemporary methods of art making led him to spend time in Italy and Morocco. From 1992-2000, he lived, with his wife, in southern Colombia in a house and studio that he built overlooking a rain forest. There he created four "dream-sites", paintings so large that viewers can walk around inside them. 
Gauguin's Studio - Tahiti, 1892
Gauguin's Studio - Tahiti, 1895
Gauguin's Studio - Tahiti,1896
Gauguin's Studio - Tahiti, 1896
Gauguin's Studio - Tahiti, 1896
A floor painting, "Fallen Tree" (1997) describes the cycle of life in one of the last surviving forests of mahogany. In a clearing in the forest, one old tree has fallen to the ground and is decaying. New saplings can be seen growing from the dead tree. This same cycle exists in painting and in all forms of innovation. So, while this work might be seen as a spur for conscience, it also contains an indication of Elwes' confidence in the power and continuity of creativity. In London, 2010, Damian Elwes exhibited an even larger floor painting about the origin of life. That artwork depicts a primary source of the Amazon River which exists at the summit of a Colombian volcano called Puracé. The painting was placed under plexiglass in the gallery and visitors could walk all over it. For the surrounding walls, Elwes created contemporary cave paintings of a woman asleep in that exotic ecosystem.
Gauguin's Studio - Tahiti, 1897
Gauguin's Studio - Tahiti, 1899
Gauguin's Studio, 1894
Chagall's Studio - Vence, 1945
Monet's Studio - Giverny, 1902
Matisse's Balcony - Hotel Regina, Nice 1950
Matisse's Studio - Collioure, 1905
Matisse's Studio - Collioure, 1907
Matisse's Studio - Collioure, 1907
Matisse's Studio - Hotel Mediteranee Nice, 1918
Matisse's Studio - Hotel Regina, Nice 1941
A documentary, 'Inside Picasso's Studio' (2006) follows Elwes as he creates a vast painting describing the various studios on ground floor of Picasso's "Villa La Californie", as they were in April 1956. The painting wraps around several walls and viewers are able to walk from room to room while examining hundreds of Picasso's artworks in progress. 
Curator Fred Hoffman wrote: "While we, the viewer, are immediately intrigued and invited to partake of these historical moments, what actually sustains, even heightens our interest, is Damian Elwes' ability to turn documentation and historical record into compelling pictorial visions requiring repeated viewing and constant deciphering. Elwes' concern for historical accuracy, and his subsequent investigative process enable his fully realized paintings to have a freshness and immediacy which none of the source material contains nor conveys. It is not, therefore, the fact that he has painted Picasso’s studio that makes Elwes' work of interest. Rather, it is his ability to use the historical source material about Picasso to achieve some immediacy for his own concerns as a painter. In the end, it is the expressive quality of these works that we feel drawn to".
Damian Elwes 1960 | British painter | The Artist's Studio
Matisse's Studio - Hotel Regina, Nice 1953
Matisse's Studio - Nice, 1952
Matisse's Studio - Place Charles Felix, 1926
Matisse's Studio - Quai Saint Michel Paris, 1904
Matisse's Studio - Quai Saint Michel Paris, 1916
Matisse's Studio - Tangiers, 1912
Matisse's Studio - Vence, 1945
Matisse's Studio - Vence, 1945
Matisse's Studio - Vence, 1946
Matisse's Studio - Vence, 1947
Matisse's Window - Vence, 1942
Frida Kahlo's Studio - Coyoacan Mexico, 1941
Frida Kahlo's Studio - Coyoacan Mexico, 1941
Frida Kahlo's Studio - Coyoacan Mexico, 1946
Frida Kahlo's Studio - Coyoacan, 1940
Frida Kahlo's Studio - Coyoacan, 1947
Picasso's Studio - Blvd Clichy, Paris 1910
Picasso's Studio - Blvd Clichy, Paris 1910
Picasso's Studio- Blvd Clichy Paris, 1910
Picasso's Studio Blvd Raspail, 1912
Picasso's Studio - Cannes, 1955
Picasso's Studio Cannes, 1956
Picasso's Studio Cannes, 1959
Picasso's Studio -Paris, 1946
Picasso's Studio - Bateau Lavoir, 1908
Picasso's Studio - Bateau Lavoir, 1908
Picasso's Studio - Cannes, 1956
Picasso's Studio - Grand Augustins Paris,1946
Picasso's Studio - Rue Schoelcher Paris, 1914
Picasso's Studio - Rue Schoelcher Paris, 1916
Picasso's Studio - Rue de la Boetie, 1918
Picasso's Studio - Rue de la Boetie, Paris, 1928
Picasso's Studio - Vauvenargues, 1960
Villa Californie - Picasso's Studio, 2011
































Damian Elwes è un pittore Britannico che attualmente residente negli Stati Uniti. Laureatosi alla Università di Harvard, attualmente risiede a Los Angeles, California. Dal 1992-2000 ha, tuttavia, soggiornato in Colombia, dove ha tratto ispirazione delle foreste pluviali, che hanno nettamente influenzato la sua retorica. Il viaggio-scoperta lo portò a disegnare opere di sempre maggiori dimensioni, che potevano anche essere vissute o "attraversate", grazie anche all'inserimento di piani che coprivano il pavimento, protetti ovviamente da pannelli di plexiglas.
E' conosciuto principalmente per una serie di dipinti che rappresentano gli studi e gli atelièr dei maggiori artisti del XX secolo: Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol e Salvador Dalí. I suoi colorati, allegri e stupefacenti lavori esaltano la creatività dell'uomo e la speciale poesia intrinseca della natura rigogliosa, il tutto sotto una luce prettamente ottimistica.
La lista delle celebrità che hanno voluto le sue opere include Steve Wynn, Stewart e Lynda Resnick, Sir Jacob Rothschild, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Mick Jagger, Donald Sutherland, Al Pacino, Jodie Foster, Pierce Brosnan, Warren Beatty e Annette Bening, Melanie Griffith e Antonio Banderas.