Elise Ansel translates Old Master paintings into a contemporary pictorial language. She mines art historical imagery for colour and form, setting aside the narrative and pictorial elements of these paintings and thus creating room for new interpretations. The representational content is transformed into a celebration of colour, gesture and the materiality of paint.  In the process of reducing her inspirations to their most fundamental forms she retains their power and energy, converting into dramatic movement and dramatic colour and light. Through this, her works interrupt linear, rational readings of Old Master paintings, repurposing and highlighting the unexpected.


‘Elise has assimilated the originals at an unprecedented level, an almost atomic level, a level in no way attainable without absolute mastery of form and materials, before exploding them onto the canvas as her own’

Lara Santor 


Her work deconstructs authorial agency in order to excavate and liberate meanings buried beneath the surface of the works from which her paintings spring. Old Master paintings were, for the most part, created by men for men. Abstraction allows her to interrupt this one sided narrative and transform it into a sensually capacious, non-narrative form of visual communication, repurposing the patriarchal language and misogyny in the history of art. Her retelling of these paintings is infused with the joy of interrupting history, replacing the past with raw expression and embracing multiple viewpoints. 


Born in New York City in 1961, Ansel studied at Brown University before gaining her MFA in Visual Art at the Southern Methodist University. Her works have been exhibited in group shows and solo exhibitions across the United States and the UK, and are held in private collections worldwide. Her first exhibition with Cadogan Contemporary, ‘Drawn from History’, was held in 2013. 


Studio Shots
Elise Ansel in her Maine Studio



1993 MFA Visual Art Southern Methodist University
1984 BA Comparative Literature Brown University


2020   'Palimpsest', David Klein Gallery, Detroit, USA
2019   'yes I said Yes', Cadogan Contemporary, London
2018   'Time Present', Danese/Corey, New York
2010   List Art Center, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
1996   Hanes Art Center Glass Gallery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina


2019/2015   'Summer Exhibition', Royal Academy of Arts, London
    rePRESENTed PAST, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York
2016   LA Art Show with Ellsworth Gallery, Los Angeles, California
    Art New York with Cynthia Corbett Gallery, New York
2015   London Art Fair, with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery, London
    Art Miami, with the Cyntha Corbett Gallery, Miami, Florida

'Young Masters/ Focus on New Work', Site/109, New York



Cristina and Joe Craft, Chair, Dept. of Internal Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences, Evansville, Indiana
Wilfrid Zogbaum, New York, New York






Alfred Mac Adam, The Brooklyn Rail, January 2019
Stacey Kors, ZEST, Winter 2019
Niall MacMonagle, The Independent, December 2018
Cate McQuaid, Boston Globe, June 2018
Alfred Mac Adam, ARTnews, March 2017
David Dorsey, The Dorsey Post, February 2017
Patrica Ramos, METAL, November 2016
Carl Little, Hyperallergic, April 2016
Kat Herriman, Cultured Magazine, Feb/March 2016
John O’Hern, Amercian Art Collector, April 2016
Daniel Kany, Portland Press Herald, Feb 2016
Jacob Fall and Virginia Rose, The Chart, March 2016
Christina Arza, Steadfast Arte, December 2015
Gabrielle Selz, Hamptons Art Hub, December 2013
Michael Abatemarco, Santa Fe New Mexican, Pasatiempo, August 2013
Deborah Weisgall, maine., January/February 2011
Bill Van Siclen, Providence Journal, January 2011