Ellen came from a family of well known and respected women artists who worked in New York City and in Salisbury, Connecticut. Her cousins, Rosina Emmet Sherwood and Lydia Field Emmet were active alongside Ellen in the Stockbridge Artist Association. She studied portraiture under William Merritt Chase at the Shinnecock School and Frederick MacMonnies while she was in Paris. Ellen was only one in a handful of women painters elected as a full Academician at the National Academy of Design, an enormous honor and privilege even for the best of her male contemporaries. She was primarily a portrait painter for affluent families, evening doing a portrait of Franklin Roosevelt. Aside from finding her paintings in such collections as the National Portrait Gallery, they rarely come up in auction, usually staying with the families for whom she painted.
Durand-Ruel Gallery, New York, 1902, 1921, 1929 (solo exhibit)
St. Louis Exposition, 1904
Copley Hall, Boston, 1906 (solo)
Macbeth Gallery, New York, 1907, 1911 (solo exhibit)
Buenos Aires, 1910
Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915 (gold medal)
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, 1922 (gold medal)
National Academy of Design, New York
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1954 (retrospective)
Museums and Public Collections
Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of the New York Historical Society, New York, NY
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT