29 August 2006

Farewell to a king of Kitsch


Vladimir Tretchikoff, the artist whose painting of the Green Lady adorned countless homes in the 60s and 70s and became the best-selling commercial print of all time, has died aged 93. Tretchikoff, who earned the title "the king of kitsch", died in a nursing home in Cape Town, South Africa, on Saturday.

The artist's most famous work, properly known as The Chinese Girl, was inspired when, on a trip to San Francisco, he spotted the daughter of a local restaurant owner and asked if he could paint her. The portrait, notable for the blueish hue to the woman's skin and the yellowed collar of her tunic, sold more than half a million copies. "I always called it my father's Mona Lisa," his daughter, Mimi Mercorio, said of the 1950 work. "I never thought at the time it would become so famous, but it seemed to catch the public eye and they loved it."

The portrait appeared everywhere and became evocative of British popular culture. Tretchikoff always insisted he was a serious artist and hated being categorised as kitsch. Ms Mercorio said: "He didn't like it. It was a label that was dumped on him and it stuck. They abused it. If you look at his works, you can't call everything kitsch."



art

15 comments:

jams o donnell said...

test

Pisces Iscariot said...

Hey, I liked Tretchikoff's stuff, in many ways it inspired me to try harder for perfection in my own drawings as a kid. We were proud to have him living amongst us in Sarf Efrika.
R.I.P.

jams o donnell said...

It this a case of an artist being defined by one work and one work only?

the flying monkeys said...

finally figured out a name for my blog...hope you didnt get confused

the flying monkeys said...

Can you please modify your blogroll to reflect the change of name, when you can find the time

the flying monkeys said...

thanks Jams

jams o donnell said...

yw!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I've always loved that picture dearly, but then I gravitate towards quirky art. I never knew anything about the artist. King of Kitsch, huh? Maybe in the art world, but Barry Manilow is the undisputed King Of Kitsch in the music world. I wonder what the reaction will be upon his death? Will he be sent off with much fanfare?

jams o donnell said...

The US govt will have to give him a state funeral methinks! If he had been British he would surely have been knighted by now.. even better given a peerage. He could call himself Lord Kitschener!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Lord Kitschener, huh? It's kitschy, I like it!

Have you ever heard of this Russian singer, Regina Spektor? Everytime I hear the word kitsch, I think of her CD, Russian Kitsch.

She has some really fun novelty songs on it.

jams o donnell said...

I had heard of her but nothing by her before.. Interesting stuff. I will have to look at some more of her songs

elasticwaistbandlady said...

It's called Soviet Kitsch. I've been a little addled lately. Regina has a lot of obviously vodka inspired songs in her repertoire! She kind of reminds me of a less weird Tori Amos.

jams o donnell said...

I must check her out, definitely!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I keep having visions of a Barry Manilow funeral complete with women pall bearers wearing yellow feathers in their hair and dresses cut down to there.

jams o donnell said...

An absolute necessity. All mourners will be genetically engineered to have huge noses and the tissues they carry will each be the size (and shape) of Wyoming!