This monumental first retrospective monograph dedicated to Louis Michel Eilshemius brings together works from over 70 institutions and private collections, providing the reader with a profound insight into the oeuvre of this unusual artist. In an expansive essay, Stefan Banz examines for the first time the questions of whether and to what extent Eilshemius influenced Duchamp
's artistic thinking.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at KMD, Kunsthalle Marcel Duchamp, Cully, from September 12 to October 4, 2015.
Louis Michel Eilshemius
(1864-1941) was practically unknown to the general public until Marcel Duchamp
discovered him in the famous first exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists at the Grand Central Palace in New York in 1917. Duchamp and Katherine S. Dreier organized his first solo exhibitions in a public institution at the now legendary Société Anonyme in New York in 1920 and 1924. Eilshemius's name was suddenly on everyone's lips: some of the most prominent art critics of the time wrote about him, and some of America's most influential collectors began to take an interest in his work. Eilshemius himself, exhausted and frustrated by his years of failure, and having grown increasingly eccentric (and perhaps also somewhat confused by the sudden change in the reception of his art), gave up painting in 1921. His works, on the other hand, received ever-greater recognition and were exhibited in the most reputable galleries of New York; between 1932 and his death in 1941 there were more than 30 exhibitions of his work. Although today many museums in the United States (MoMA, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Hirshhorn Museum, Phillips Collection) and collectors of international renown possess works by Eilshemius, the artist has faded into ever-greater obscurity, especially since the advent of Pop
and Minimal art
. Eilshemius perfectly exemplifies—in an age of mass-oriented biennials and art fairs—the idea of the individualist who resolutely goes his own way; this is one of the reasons that his work today appears more contemporary than ever.
See also Louis Michel Eilshemius
Stefan Banz (born in Sursee, lives and works in Switzerland) is an artist and author. In 1989 he cofounded the Kunsthalle Luzern and served as its artistic director until 1993; since then he has been working as a freelance artist, participating in solo and group exhibitions in international galleries and museums. From July 1994 to December 1997 he was the artistic consultant and curator of Galerie Hauser & Wirth. In 2000 he received the Manor Art Prize, and the Recognition Award from the City of Lucerne. From 2004 to 2014 he collaborated artistically with Caroline Bachmann
. In 2005 he was the curator for the Swiss Pavilion at the 51st Biennale in Venice. In 2009 he cofounded the association , and in 2010 he co-organized the event “Marcel Duchamp and the Forestay Waterfall
” in Cully, Switzerland, both with Caroline Bachmann. Since then he has been the artistic director of the KMD.
See also Caroline Bachmann & Stefan Banz