A Taiwanese lady in 1950s Paris
3 May 2020 | Works
This painting is a bit of an experiment for me.
It all started when I was decorating our new home. I thought back to the beautiful B&B where we stayed in Seattle last summer. In the bedroom was a poster with a drawing by the French master Henri Matisse. With its minimalistic style, it fit perfectly with the stylish but simple interior of the B&B.
As you know, my painting style is very different! I was fascinated by how Matisse created this portrait with just a few confident lines. I always struggle with portraits.
So I decided to have some fun, and imagine what the model would have looked like, and then paint her in my style.
I did a whole lot of research trying to find out who "La Pompadour" was and why Matisse painted several different portraits of her. Well it turns out la pompadour isn't a person, it's a hairstyle! And to make it even more complicated, it's a hairstyle that changed over time. La Pompadour of the 1890s looks quite different from La Pompadour of the 1950s, when Matisse created this piece.
I decided that his model would have worn it 1890s style. Then I did some research on the makeup of the time and discovered that pink cheeks were very popular. Also I feel like the eyes in the original work look very Asian. So here's my conclusion: the model was a Chinese or Taiwanese lady living in Paris! hahaha
I had a lot of fun researching and painting this piece. I think the result is really surprisingly good. Probably because I was working with a master artist!