(American, b. 1924)
Oil on canvas
Framed: 185 x 155 x 4 cm (72 13/16 x 61 x 1 9/16 in.); Unframed: 182.8 x 152.4 cm (71 15/16 x 60 in.)
© Philip Pearlstein
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1978.16
By cutting off the upper part of the model’s face, Philip Pearlstein breaks in a special way with the tradition of nude painting and portraiture. By not giving the viewer a counterpart who responds in one way or another to his or her gaze, Pearlstein focuses completely on the naked human body. By contemplating on his model’s body as a phenomenon devoid of any identity other than the attributes of sex and skin color, Pearlstein transforms it into a secluded world of forms, comparable to a natural landscape. The depiction comes across as objective and sober—there is no intimate tension or sexual charge.
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