Brussels 1905 - 1992
Globetrotter and abstract painter
Elie Borgrave was born in Brussels in 1905 from a belgian father Count Camille de Borchgrave d'Altena and an american mother Ruth Snyder, descendant of a wealthy industrial family from Philadelphia. During World War I he lived in the UK and spent his adolescence in the USA. In 1937 he discovered Paris, its museums, artists ( Picasso, Klee, Gris, Braque ) and galleries and decided to become a painter. Upon the outbreak of World War II he emigrated to Brasil, where he earned his living a.o. as a golf teacher of President Vargas. In 1941 he returned to Europe ( U.K. ) where he met polish abstract painter Jankl Adler ( 1895 - 1949 ), a former professor at the Bauhaus exiled in London. In 1943 he studied thorougly art history and made his first drawings and paintings, signing ELDEREN, a pseudonym ( a town in the belgian province of Limburg ) he used through 1949. In 1945 he returned to Belgium and visited Paris, where he met Paul Klee and dutch painters Geer and Bram Van Velde. In 1946 he participated at the "Salon des Réalités Nouvelles" in Paris together with Vasarely, the Van Velde brothers, Piaubert, Poliakoff e.a.
In 1948, Borgrave decided to emigrate to the USA, settled in Stonington, Connecticut, where he created an art academy. In 1949 he started to sign his paintings with the monogram E ( Epsilon ).
In the 1950's Borgrave exhibited at the JB Neumann Gallery and at the Stable Gallery ( 1955 ) in New York City.
In 1954 he became an american citizen. In 1955 he returned to Europe and lived in the italian island "Ischia". In the 1960's he finally settled in Belgium and bought an atelier in Zuidzande ( Zeeland, the Netherlands ), where he was able to work "far from the maddening crowd". Borgrave died in Brussels in 1992 at the age of 87.
GROUP 2 GALLERY held two solo exhibitions of the artist and showed his work in several group exhibitions
1995 Elie Borgrave, Homage
1997 Elie Borgrave, the Golden Sixties
2014 Between Figuration and Abstraction
The Museum of Ixelles in Brussels, Belgium, organizes presently an ELIE BORGRAVE exhibition "The balance of opposites" from June 15 through September 24 2017. On this occasion a fine book about Borgrave has been published by Snoeck publishers.