Watercolor and gouache, with graphite
Support: Beige wove paper
Sheet: 34.7 x 27.7 cm (13 11/16 x 10 7/8 in.)
Gift of the Ching Ho Cheng Estate 2014.405
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Vali Myers was an artist and dancer known for her wild red hair, tattooed face, and habit of going barefoot. Her distinctive look and bohemian lifestyle made her an attractive muse for many artists, writers, and musicians of the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s.
Born to a Chinese diplomat family in Cuba, Ching Ho Cheng spent much of his career in New York City, where he was deeply involved in the city’s artistic scene from the 1960s through the ‘80s. The style of his artworks varied widely through the decades, but he consistently preferred to work on paper, resulting in drawings such as this one. Cheng’s psychedelic works were complex and labor intensive, sometimes taking more than a month to complete. Studies, such as this one, allowed the artist to work out important elements of the composition. Here, Cheng made minor adjustments to the angle, pose, and lighting of the artist Vali Myers’s feet before depicting them in the finished drawing Queenie (also in the CMA’s collection).
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