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$375 Formation (North Shore Rocks) signed c. 1958 oil on canvas 24" x 30"
Elsie Wells (1910 - 1996)
Elsie Wells was born in Missouri in 1910. She studied painting for many years under artist Mac Le Sueur. In 1937, she decided to travel around the world in 100 days with the goal of gathering inspiration from other cultures and nature. She subsequently used this experience in completing 50 oil paintings. In 1940, she moved to Minnesota and lived there for the rest of her life.
Wells was also a poet and in 1994 she published a book titled “Soul on Paper” that contained her poetry and pictures of many of her paintings. Very few people can render both visually and verbally with the skill Elsie Wells demonstrated. The subjects of her paintings match her poetry in diversity. Landscapes, people, animals, and ordinary scenes of life, all acquired special impact from this artist’s brush.
Her paintings are evocations of mood that use the full range of tools from modernism: perspective, cubism, and impressionism. One thirsts to see in color those works that are rendered only in sepia and the ones in color burst upon the eye with tension between line and hue that never loses its mystery.
Elsie Wells passed away in 1996 in Minnesota, and even though Wells never attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), she was honored with a retrospective show there shortly after her death.