Glimpse the Studios of Art Historical Greats in Vibrant Paintings by Damian Elwes


#art history
#Damian Elwes

June 27, 2024

Kate Mothes

an acrylic painting of Jean-Michel Basquiat's studio in a New York loft

“Basquiat’s Studio, Crosby Street” (2023), acrylic on canvas, 174.6 x 219 centimeters. All images © Damian Elwes, courtesy of Unit London, shared with permission

From the cubist compositions of Pablo Picasso to “The Two Fridas,” the 1939 iconic double self-portrait by Frida Kahlo, vibrant views of seminal artworks and acclaimed artists’ studios emerge in the imaginative acrylic paintings of Damian Elwes.

Elwes began experimenting with painting other artists’ studios nearly four decades ago while living in Paris and spending time in contemporary art spaces. He studied the architecture, materials, layout, and habits of each individual, meticulously documenting every detail and idiosyncrasy. With the advent of the internet and growing online archives, Elwes began sourcing photographs of workspaces belonging to the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat or Henri Matisse.

In his large-scale paintings, unique portraits emerge through recognizable views from the windows, knick-knacks on shelves, art supplies at the ready, and renderings of famous pieces still sitting on easels. Francis Bacon’s studio, for example, was famously messy, and Keith Haring’s urban loft was covered in graffiti and sketches. Yayoi Kusama transformed her 1960s New York studio into an immersive installation of three-dimensional textile sculptures.

Elwes’s forthcoming show Studio Visit at Unit London highlights paintings made over the past couple of decades, ranging from depictions of Picasso’s Paris apartment to Damien Hirst’s Thames-side retreat. The show opens July 7 and runs through September 23. Find more on the artist’s website and Instagram.


a painting of Frida Kahlo's studio

“Frida Kahlo’s Studio, Casa Azul” (2010), acrylic on canvas, 168 x 198.3 centimeters

a painting of Damien Hirst's London studio with large windows overlooking the Thames

“Damien Hirst’s Studio, Thames Wharf, London” (2024), acrylic on canvas, 173.5 x 373 centimeters

a painting of Francis Bacon's famously messy studio, centered on one of his paintings of a figure

“Francis Bacon’s Studio” (2016), gouache on board, 44.9 x 76.3 centimeters

“Keith Haring’s Studio, Cable Building, New York” (2023), acrylic on canvas, 167.8 x 212.2 centimeters

a painting of Yayoi Kusama's studio with furniture covered in textile textures

“Kusama’s Studio” (2024), gouache on board, 52.1 x 76.4 centimeters

a painting of Matisse's studio with a painting on an easel and windows open to reveal the Mediterranean

“Matisse’s Studio, La Regina, Nice” (2024), acrylic on canvas, 172.7 x 173.5 centimeters

a painting of Pablo Picasso's painting studio in Paris

“Picasso’s Studio, Rue de la Boetie” (2023), oil on wood, 91.5 x 122 centimeters

a painting of Roy Lichtenstein's studio, with large comic book-inspired paintings on easels

“Roy Lichtenstein, New York” (2024), acrylic on canvas, 160 x 213 centimeters

#art history
#Damian Elwes


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