Rodin scholar and modernist art historian, Stanford University professor 1968-95. Elsen was born to Albert Elsen, Sr., and Julia Huseman (Elsen). His father was an attorney and his mother taught school. He served in the U.S. Army in the 752nd Tank Batallion in Italy during World War II, rising to the rank of sergeant major. He attended Columbia University where he graduated with distinction in 1949, continuing for his Master's Degree in 1951. He was awarded a Fulbright fellowship 1949-50. That year, too, he married Patricia Morgan Kline.