Before the Second World War (1935-1940), Elie Borgrave travelled all over the USA and Europe, where he discovered abstract painting among exhibitions in Paris at Modern Art Museum andthe Petit Palais. Borgrave felt an emotional revelation facing Georges Braque, Henri Matisse and Juan Gris cubist paintings, and adopted their unique styles. In 1946, he returned to Paris and befriended the Abstractionists Geer and Bram Van Velde. He participated at the “Salon des Réalités Nouvelles” alongside Bram and Geer Van Velde, Maria-Elena Vieira and Sophie Taeuber-Arp. Borgrave also showed in Brussels, at the Galerie Louis Manteau, renowned for promoting abstract artists.
In 1949, Borgrave set up residence and studio at Stonington, Connecticut, where he founded a Modern Art summer school with his brother in law and American abstract painter, David Chapin. During the 1940’s, his style evolved into a form of lyric abstraction with tendencies towards abstract expressionism. However, he rejected being associated with any particular art movement.
In 1955, Borgrave decided to settle on the island of Ischia, Italy where colour entered his work. His feeling for light resonated within him after leaving Ischia for France where he worked during 1958-1962. During 1970′s and 1980′s, Borgrave livd in Holland and in Belgium, where he was featured in many group exhibitions at the Galerie Tamara Pfeiffer, Galerie Veraneman, Museum d’Hondt-Dhaenens, Deurle. In Paris, Borgrave was a participant in the Salon de Mai of 1971 and 1972.
One-man shows were hosted by the Galerie Denise Van de Velde, Alost, Yoshii, Paris and Galerie Unip, Lausanne and Galerie Willy d’Huysser, Knokke.
Borgrave’s painting appeals to universal values in the way they reflect an intellectual, almost mystical approach and his search for the absolute.