Alexandre Elmaleh de Buenos

Alexandre Elmaleh de Buenos (July 19 1927—November 1 2006) was a French Impressionist painter.

A master colorist, Alex's art has been exhibited throughout the North East of the United States. From a city landscape to a field of Lavender, his paintings provoke thought and serenity while exciting the senses.

His young life from adolescence to adulthood were spent fighting for the French Resistance during World War II. After the war he met and married an American girl, Anne Moynihan, and together had 7 children and 15 grandchildren. During the middle sixties the family moved to America from Paris and settled in the South End in Boston.

The youngest of 10 children Alexandre was born in Marseille, France and spent most of his childhood in the nearby town of Toulon where his father David worked as a businessman in the garment industries while his mother stayed home with the children. When he was a young boy the family moved to Cairo for his father's work where he learned to speak Egyptian and attended grade school. After several years the family moved back to Toulon where he would eventually grow up.

During World War II when the Germans began occupying France, he joined the Free French Forces and served as a messenger and explosives expert. In 1945, at 18 years of age, he took part in the liberation of Marseille with the allied forces. Alex joined his three older brothers (Jacques, André & Roger) in the liberation of Europe.

Following the war he was drafted into the French Army. Before his release from military duty, he was nearly sent to Indochine, but because of his prior war service he was released of this obligation. He served his two year national duty and was honorably discharged.

After the Army he opened a used book store in Toulon where he also exhibited his paintings, selling several on occasion. Wanting to enhance his abilities he decided to move to Paris to attend L'Ecole Des Beaux-Art where he studied illustration and Impressionism. His senior year he had met Anne Moynihan. An American student from New York City in Paris attending Le Sueur Bonne. By 1953 they had their first child and would go on to have 6 more children by 1969.

Much poverty followed in the 50's and 60's and good jobs became hard to find. It was around this time that some of his greatest works would come. As well as a painter, Alex had learned how to play the guitar at an early age. Growing up in the South of France enabled him to frequent the Gypsies. His love of Gypsy Jazz led to him to have the opportunity to meet and briefly play with legendary Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. As he honed his guitar playing skills growing up he put those skills to use. To make ends meet he started playing professionally as a "hired gun" in Paris nightclub scene. The height of his music career came when he played live in front of 6000 people while being broadcast all over France on TV. His travels in the music industry saw him play with such musicians as Les Paul, Sydney Bechet, and the Platters.

Hoping to escape the poverty stricken times that they had faced, Alex moved his family to the United States in 1966. They settled in the South End, an inner city neighborhood of Boston. Best known for it's Victorian row houses and parks, the South End is seen in a lot of his landscape scenes. After working odd jobs including driving a cab and working as a cleaner in the theater district and scraping and saving their money the family was able to put a down payment on a four-level town house on Dwight Street in the South End.

Alex made a lot of strides in the art community in Boston and became well known with the Boston Center for the Arts, where he frequented artist such as sculptor Ed Trobec and also taught art to students and often exhibited works.

During this time Alex expanded his portfolio and prospered with brilliant cityscapes. His paintings took on an urban feel to them and paintings like "Colombus Avenue in Snow" show his mastery of how to use just a few colors from his pallet.

Alex's popularity in the Boston community spread and pretty soon become a minor celebrity.

Later life
As the children grew older and out, Alex and Anne sold the building in the South End and bought a small house in Savannah, Georgia and an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Some of his most inspiring works are landscaping depictions of Savannah. These works show the beauty of the city with its ornate Victorians and the Spanish Moss draped trees.

Of all of the places Alex lived he loved Manhattan most and his status as a war veteran led to his joining the American Legion and creating the French Allied War Veterans. He frequently attended the Veteran's Day Parade marching with his veteran friends.

Towards the end of his life all of the years smoking non filter cigarettes, though he quit in the early seventies, led to Lung Disease. He finally passed away at St. Lukes Hospital on 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue from complications due to emphysema and kidney failure. He was 79 years old.
< Prev   Next >