Dante Elsner (1920-1997): THE WORK

May 11, 2022 - May 17, 2022   -   Dante Elsner
In May, The Noble Sage, in association with Jewish Book Week, will be holding an exhibition of the drawings and paintings of the late Polish, Jewish-born London artist, Dante Elsner (1920-1997). The exhibition of more than 23 works from his familys private collection will be an introduction to this remarkable painter that dedicated his life in London to a new spiritual artistic practise.

Dante Elsners fascinating story begins in Krakow, Poland, where he was born to a middle class liberal Jewish family. His parents had hoped for a medical career for Dante when the Second World War broke out in 1939 and they had to flee to the Russian side of divided Poland. When Hitler broke his pact with Stalin in 1941, Nazi occupation proved too dangerous for the family. The next year, Elsners father and brother and then his mother were rounded up and taken to the Sobibor and Belzec Death Camps. Elsner miraculously escaped and for two years lived on instinct alone in the forest. Traumatised by what he had been through, and yet indebted to his inner voice that had saved him, Elsner found his way to Krakow to study fine art. When, again, Poland began to be unstable, Elsner left for Paris.

In Paris, the artist lived in extreme poverty in an attic room with no heating or running water. He ate in soup kitchens to survive, taking odd jobs wherever he could and using any money he made to produce art. When he ran out of canvases he would paint on his shirts. Whilst in Paris, on the brink of suicide, it was often his visits to the museums that gave him courage. He was introduced to the teachings of the Armenian mystic, G.I. Gurdjieff, who described a new spiritual route for ones life described as The Work: an exploration of human existence for the evolution of man to deeper states of attention, alertness and vision. This was the framework Elsner had been looking for to make sense of his inner voice.

Having married, Elsner moved to Queens Park in London in 1958 and soon after began to receive reparations from the German government for loss in the war. Now financially independent, Elsner dedicated his life to the artistic spiritual journeying of The Work. Inspired by the diverse spiritualities of South East Asia, Elsner forged a new practice of watercolour and ink brush painting in a scroll format modelled on Japanese and Chinese art. He believed that every brushstroke was immediately a reflection of its makers state of mind and a pure reflection of the spiritual path.

A Private View to celebrate the exhibition will be held on Weds 11th May, 6-8pm. This Private View will be open to all to attend. The gallery however kindly asks that you RSVP to info@thenoblesage.com with your name and number of guests for Covid safety. Alternatively, there will be daily tours with The Noble Sage's Director, Jana Manuelpillai, and other related events. For information or to book your place on these events, click here: https://linktr.ee/thenoblesage

Exhibition Listings

Dante Elsner - The Work
The Noble Sage in association with Jewish Book Week
11-16th May 2022, 11-6pm daily
@ Camden Image Gallery, 174 Royal College St, London NW1 0SP

Please note that this exhibition is now exclusively online until the end of May 2022: https://www.artsy.net/show/the-noble-sage-collection-dante-elsner-1920-1997-the-work-extended-artsy-exhibition?sort=partner_show_position