Elisabeth Sonrel

Elisabeth Sonrel

Biography of Elisabeth Sonrel ( 1874-1953 )

Élisabeth Sonrel, born in 1874 in Tours, was a painter of allegorical subjects of Art Nouveau style, with mystical and symbolist influences, portraits and landscapes. His father Nicolas Stéphane Sonrel taught her the art of painting. She continued her artistic training in Paris at the School of Fine Arts and became a student of Jules Lefebvre. In 1892, she made Pax and Laborfor her final exam, which was later exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Tour.

Elisabeth Sonrel exhibited large watercolors of women at the Salon between 1893 and 1941. She travelled to Florence and Rome where she discovered the art of the Renaissance and the paintings of Botticelli which profoundly influenced her style.

Her subjects, inspired by mythology, chivalric epics and Arthurian legend, are allegorical, mystical and symbolic. Among her mystical works: Wandering Souls(Salon of 1894), The Spirits of the Abyss (Salon of 1899) and Young Woman with Tapestry. At the 1900 Universal Exhibition, she won a bronze medal for her painting The Sleep of the Virgin, as well as the Henri Lehmann prize of 3,000 francs from the Academy of Fine Arts.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Brittany region became an important source of inspiration for the artist. The forest of Brocéliande, the landscapes of Concarneau, Plougastel, Pont-l'Abbé and Loctudy inspired her many paintings. She also found many female models in the region to pose for her compositions. In the 1930s, she built a villa in La Baule. 

Working mainly in watercolor and gouache, Elisabeth Sonrel developed a bright and clear palette. Her drawing was extremely precise, especially for the representation of costumes, plants and flowers.

Elisabeth Sonrel died in 1963 in Sceaux.

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