Elaine Badgley Arnoux Biography

Elaine Badgley Arnoux




Elaine Badgley Arnoux, portraitist, painter, printmaker, and sculptor, was born Helen Elaine Harper on 20 April 1926 in Omaha, Nebraska. At the age of eleven-years-old, she moved with her mother to Whittier, California where she attended high school. Arnoux was awarded a scholarship to attend the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles where she studied between 1944 and 1947.

After marrying Robert Stranahan in 1947, they moved to San Luis Obispo, California where Arnoux co-founded the San Luis Obispo Art Association [now the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art]. Arnoux was an instructor and curator and first showed her work at the Art Association. After her divorce from Stranahan, she married John Bagley, an architect.

In 1953, she participated in a juried group show at the Santa Barbara Museum and won a purchase award. Her first solo show was held at the Robert Day Gallery in Richmond, California in 1957. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Arnoux studied independently with Channing Peake and Bruce McCurdy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1961 she was awarded a traveling scholarship to Europe, which she used to study in France and Spain.

In 1965 she settled in San Francisco, California with her husband and children and continued to paint and began exploring sculpture as an outlet for her creativity. She became known for her oil painting portraitures of San Franciscans—mayors, neighbors, and shoe shiners. In 1975, she married the clothing designer Gilles Arnoux and they moved to Biot in the south of France for three years where she created portraitures of the residents. She studied independently at the Fort Mason Printmakers between 1981 and 1982, and in 1981 she also founded the Elaine Badgley Arnoux School of Art and the related Bridge Gallery. She steered both institutions until 1994 when she accepted a teaching position at the SOMO School of Art in San Francisco.

Arnoux was included in numerous gallery exhibitions, primarily in California, and a retrospective was presented at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art in 2004. Her work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Nebraska Art, Kearney; the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts; and the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, California.

Elaine Stranahan Badgley Arnoux Kozloff died on 15 July 2023 in San Francisco. At the age of ninety-seven, she outlived her four husbands and left behind a legacy.