Elisabeth Sonrel: Art Nouveau Artist

Elisabeth Sonrel was a French artist who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century. She was known for her romantic and mystical paintings, which often depicted women in dreamlike and ethereal landscapes. Sonrel was a prolific artist, creating over 500 paintings in her lifetime. 

Jeune Fille en Jaune, Elisabeth Sonrel l
Jeune Fille en Jaune, oil on canvas

  • Élisabeth Sonrel, born Élisa-Marie-Stéphanie-Adrienne Sonrel, lived from 1874 to 1953.
  • She received early artistic guidance from her father, the painter Stéphane Sonrel, in Tours, France.
  • Élisabeth moved to Paris to further her artistic studies and became a pupil of the renowned artist Jules Lefebvre.
  • Her diploma work, "Pax et Labor," executed in 1892 at the age of 18, displayed her precocious talent.
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Many of Sonrel's paintings feature women in flowing dresses and surrounded by nature, often with a sense of magic or otherworldliness. Her use of muted colors and soft brushstrokes add to the dreamlike quality of her work. Her paintings are an embodiment of the Art Nouveau style, which was popular in France during her time.

Elisabeth SONREL - Catherine La Rose


  • Sonrel exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1893 onwards, showcasing large watercolors of idealized women.
  • Her works exhibited a blend of Pre-Raphaelite intensity, particularly inspired by Botticelli, and French symbolist painting.
  • Notable mystical works include "Ames errantes" (Salon of 1894) and "Les Esprits de l’abime" (Salon of 1899).

    Le Sommeil de la Vierge elisabeth sonrel

  • One of her well-known paintings, "Le Sommeil de la Vierge" (1895), gained recognition and was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in 1900.
  • After 1896, Sonrel shifted towards painting portraits, picturesque Breton landscapes, and occasional flowers.

    Аleurs Des Champs by Elisabeth Sonrel

    Fleurs des Champs, 1899–1905



  • Her last exhibit at the Salon was in 1941 when she was 67 years old.
  • Sonrel's work gained renewed attention in the last two decades, with notable acquisitions by institutions like the Ashmolean.
  • Despite being recognized during her lifetime, most of her works are in private collections, with few in French museums.
  • Prior to the Ashmolean acquisition, her art was not represented in British public collections.
  • Sonrel's style was heavily influenced by Italian Renaissance painters, Pre-Raphaelites, and French symbolists.
  • She remained unmarried and passed away in 1953 in Sceaux, a suburb of Paris where she lived with her parents.

    Fleurs de Serre , ca. 1903
    Fleurs de Serre , ca. 1903

    Elisabeth Sonrel's work has had a lasting impact on the art world, and her paintings continue to inspire and captivate viewers today. Her art is a testament to the power of the imagination and the beauty of the natural world.

    Personifikation des Frühlings / Personnification du printemps


    Élisabeth Sonrel (1874-1953)


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