Using energetic gestural abstraction, Elise Ansel translates Old Master paintings into a contemporary visual 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. Her works interrupt linear readings of Old Master paintings, repurposing and highlighting the unexpected. 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, replacing imagery with dynamic movement and dramatic colour and light. 

"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 Santoro


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 that dominates 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.

Studio shots
Elise Ansel in her Maine Studio


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 public and private collections worldwide. Her first exhibition with Cadogan, 'Drawn from History', was held in 2013.  


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


2023   'Some of its Parts', Cadogan Gallery, London, UK
    'Sea Change', Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, USA
2022   Hamptons Fine Art Fair, Carol Corey Fine Art, Southampton, NY, USA
2021   'Polarity', Cadogan Gallery, London, UK
2020   'Palimpsest', David Klein Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, USA
2018   'Time Present', Danese/Corey, New York, USA





'Re-Framing the Female Gaze: Women Artists and the New Historicism', Lehman College Art Gallery, New York, USA



'Together & Apart, A Legacy of Abstraction', David Klein Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, USA



'Through the Walls', Cadogan Gallery, London, UK



'Reunion', Hollis-Taggart, Southport, Connecticut, USA



'Summer Exhibition', Royal Academy of Arts, London

    'rePRESENTed PAST', Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York



Museum of Contemporary Art Krków, MOCAK, Kraków, Poland

Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, USA

Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Eli Lilly Foundation, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences, Evansville, Indiana, USA

Art Masters Solutions, London, UK

Ice, Miller, Denadio, and Ryan, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Cristina and Joe Craft, Chair, Dept. of Internal Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Sopwell House, St. Albans, UK

Spring Island Trust, Spring Island, South Carolina, USA

Wilfrid Zogbaum, New York, New York, USA