Elinor Thien (1854 - 1916)

Birth date: 1854 Death date: 1916  
Birth location: Theinsville, Wisconsin Death location: Washington  
Media: Ceramic , Painting , Textile Web site:
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Elinor Thien

Born 1854 Thiensville, Wisconsin

Died 1916 in Washington

Elinor Thien was the daughter of John Henry Thien, who emigrated from Germany and founded the town of Thiensville, Wisconsin in 1842. The second oldest of five daughters of Mr. Thien and his second wife, Rebecca, Elinor’s early education began with private tutors at home. One of her notable teachers was Edward Salomon who later became the Governor of Wisconsin (1862-1864).

 She and her sisters continued their studies at St. Mary’s Institute in Milwaukee with the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The philosophy of education at the school “embraced every useful and ornamental branch of art and science suitable for young ladies” while offering classes in English, French, German, needlework, embroidery and music. After inheriting money from her father, Elinor traveled to Paris, France in 1888 to study art at the Ecole Julian under Boulanger and Lefebvre and the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

When she returned to America, she settled in Port Washington, opened an art studio and began a professional career as an artist and educator. Her watercolor and oil landscapes were inspired by the area in and around that city on the shore of Lake Michigan. She also painted copies of masterpieces which were popular with the public in the 1900’s.

Elinor Thien never married and died at the home of her half sister, Celie Goetze Leek in Washington.

Selected Group Exhibition

1988    Exhibit of Elinor Thien and Students: paintings, embroidered linens and painted china,

Eghart House Museum, Port Washington, Wisconsin.

© 5/2/2007 Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin                                                                  6/3/2010

Wisconsin Affiliations

No affiliations were found.

Wisconsin Art Organizations

No art organizations were found.

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