Elizabeth Peyton

(b. 1965)

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(1965– )

American painter born in Connecticut. She studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York between 1984 and 1987. Initially she made paintings of historical figures such as Ludwig of Bavaria or Napoleon. She adopted a style of painterly adaptation of photographs, sometimes of news stories or celebrities, sometimes of friends. Her paintings of men are usually posed, rather like pin-ups on the wall of a teenage girl, and are generally small in size. The depictions of pop stars or mildly eroticized male figures appear to be without any irony. Giorgio Verzotti (Artforum International, February 2002) described her as ‘a small woman who works for the most part on a small scale’; but, he continues, ‘she is a majestic painter, perhaps the most important of her generation’. She prefers photographs which are ‘incidental and accidental’ because they give her greater freedom to pick and choose information. Her transcriptions are not literal: she will pick details from different photographs and combine them. The subjects she draws upon tend not to be ‘hard news’ stories. British royalty recurs. There are images of the Queen Mother's funeral or Prince Harry at a football match.

Further Reading

Interview with Elizabeth Peyton, Index (July 2000)

Subjects: Art.

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