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 Elise Cavanna Seeds Armitage Elise  (1902/05 - 1963)

/ AHR-mi-tazh/


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Lived/Active: California      Known for: abstract easel painting, illustration, mural, lithography

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Elise Seeds is primarily known as Elise Cavanna Seeds Armitage Elise

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Germantown, PA on Jan. 30, 1902. Elise Seeds studied with Daniel Garber, Hugh Breckenridge, and at the PAFA. In the 1920s she also studied dance with Isadora Duncan and acted as W.C. Fields' comic partner in the Ziegfield Follies. After settling in Los Angeles in the 1930s, she was active in the local art scene and on the Public Works of Art Project. Six feet tall and eccentric, during the 1930s she sported purple hair. Her married names included Elise Cavanna, Mrs. Merle Armitage, and Mrs. James B. Welton. The artist died in Los Angeles on May 12, 1963. A modernist, her works are mostly abstractions. Exh: Fifty Prints of the Year, 1933-35; Ebell Club (LA), 1935 (1st prize); Calif. Pacific Int'l Expo (San Diego), 1935; Antheil Gallery (LA), 1938 (solo); NY World's Fair, 1939; LA AA, 1941; Forsythe Gallery (LA), 1950 (solo). Murals: Exposition Park (LA); Oceanside (CA) Post Office; Beverly Hills Post Office.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Who's Who in American Art 1938-53.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Spencer Jon Helfen Fine Arts:
Standing six feet tall and, in the 1930s, sporting purple hair, Elise Seeds -- who used just "Elise" as her artist's identity -- was clearly an independent, unorthodox woman. She epitomized the group of progressive Southern California female artists of which she became a member: self-sufficient and eccentric, they were welcome residents of a region that no longer lived the frontier life, but instead had begun to nurture its own intelligentsia. After studying art in her home state of Pennsylvania, and then studying dance in the 1920s with Isadora Duncan, she came to California in the 1930s to act as W.C. Fields's comic partner in the Ziegfeld Follies.

Her first known drawings and paintings, created from 1932 to 1935, already exhibited a fully Modernist style, with their thin, sweeping lines, fluid, arching movement and a sense of delicacy. Often, the words used to describe Elise's works sounded as if they were describing music or dance: melody, harmony, progression, sequence, tempo, dynamics. It was as if she had taken what she had learned as a dancer and performer and applied it to canvas.

One of the few Southern California Modernists to fully understand and reflect the influence of Kandinsky, Elise did works that were arrangements of pure line and simple, two-dimensional geometric shapes. Some established a linkage with representational objects; others were totally nonobjective.

During her career, Elise created some of Los Angeles's purest abstractions. Her work was inspired by natural forms, in which the artist saw an innate rhythm and balance, and from which she could reduce those forms to their essence, their smallest possible denominator.

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