• Latin American Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 2222

    Latin American Sale

    17 - 18 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 17

    Diego Rivera (Mexican 1886-1957)

    Portrait of Muriel Shirley Lipsey

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Diego Rivera (Mexican 1886-1957)
    Portrait of Muriel Shirley Lipsey
    signed and dated 'Diego Rivera 48' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    47½ x 31¼ in. (120.6 x 79.4 cm.)
    Painted in 1948.


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    Muriel Shirley Lipsey was married to Beverly Hills' most famous furrier during the glamorous heyday of the 1930s and 40s, Abe Lipsey. A renowned hostess, Ms. Lipsey's elegant parties and intimate soirèes gathered Hollywood's elite such as Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, Nat King Cole and many other silver screen luminaries. The Lipseys were also great patrons of the arts and dedicated philanthropists whose humanitarian concerns endeared them to many noble causes.

    Painted by the great Diego Rivera, Ms. Lipsey's portrait resembles Hollywood royalty. She is seated with poise on a plush velvet chair and is glamorously dressed in a fashionable fuchsia-colored gown wearing dazzling ruby and diamond clips and an extravagantly large diamond ring in her perfectly manicured left hand. Equally celebrated for his many superb compositions of Indian women at festivals or as flower sellers in markets such as the magnificent Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita, 1931, Museum of Modern Art, New York--Rivera undertook with creative enthusiasm numerous society portraits such as the ones of Mexican society grande dame Natasha Gelman, film stars María Felix, Silvia Pinal, and Paulette Goddard and the American socialite C.Z. Guest where his sitters are surrounded by exotic flowers and are transformed into iconic timeless beauties.

    The portrait is accompanied by a photograph dedicated to "Muriel Brand from Diego Rivera, 1948." Noticeably absent from the finished work is the flower vase seen in the photograph. Preferring to depict Ms. Lipsey in a more luxuriant floral ambience, Rivera has practically crowned the lovely sitter's head with purple bougainvillia as she holds a floral arrangement of white gardenias and orchids resembling a scepter with her right hand.

    Provenance

    Acquired from the artist by the sitter.
    Gift from the above to the present owner.