Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Peter Ellenshaw - Realism in California art

I recently completed an art appraisal on a Peter Ellenshaw (1913-2007) painting. Hailing from London, England,  Ellenshaw became one of California's most revered coastal landscape painters.

As a Santa Barbara art appraiser, I see many of Peter Ellenshaw's works in Santa Barbara, as he settled here during his final years. Ellenshaw is best known as a landscape artist, whose precise painting technique achieved a photorealist quality. Art collectors often think they are looking at a photograph rather than a painting.

Peter Ellenshaw | Paintings | Himalayan Mountains, Thyangboche Monestary,Nepal
(Courtesy R.W Norton Art Foundation)

One of Ellenshaw's earliest jobs as an artist was during an apprenticeship under W. Percy Day, a British film special effects artist and painter. After serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II, Ellenshaw returned to the film industry as an artist for MGM. In the late 1940s, Walt Disney offered Ellenshaw a position in the studio as an artist.

In 1953, Ellenshaw moved his family to California where began his career as a Disney illustrator and stage designer at Disneyland. California's rich landscape bewitched Ellenshaw -- who became entranced by the ocean. The artist began spending weekends painting the waves and beaches of Santa Barbara, Laguna Beach, and the southern California coast.

He also began a lifelong association with the Hammer Galleries in New York. During the 1970s, Ellenshaw moved to Ireland, and he began painting the green landscapes and Irish coastline. He exhibited works at the American Embassy in Dublin. Ellenshaw traveled throughout Europe and traveled to Giverny, France where Monet painted his famous water lillies.

Ellenshaw also painted in the Mojave desert, capturing the arid landscapes of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and the San Bernardino area. Ellenshaw also painted the cityscapes of San Francisco -- but finally settled in Santa Barbara, California where he continued to paint his famous seascapes of the Central California coastline.

At auction Peter Ellenshaw's paintings have sold for between $10,000-$30,000 depending on the  condition of the artwork, size, quality, authenticity, provenance, and style.