“That's what it's all about-making art is making something live forever. Human beings especially–we can't hold on to them in any way. Painting and art is a way of holding onto things and making things go on through time” - Elizabeth Peyton, quoted in J. Cocker, “Elizabeth Peyton,” Interview, November 2008.
A leader in the field of contemporary figurative painting and drawing, Elizabeth Peyton combines the luxuriant brushwork of 19th century portraiture, the compositional dynamism of geometric abstract painting and a bold, emotive color palette of saturated hues to impart a dramatic air to her sitters. In Annette Greenwich St., Peyton's sumptuous depiction of her friend ensconced by a window is immediately reminiscent of Young Woman at the Window, Sunset by Henri Matisse. Also inspired by the studio portraiture of Nadar, Alfred Stieglitz and Robert Mapplethorpe, who all photographed their friends and acquaintances, Peyton carries the tradition of representing the human form with candor, tenderness and, above all, intimacy.
The present group of works (lots 168, 169, 306 and 307) demonstrates the artist’s deft command of three mediums: ink and brush, watercolor and oil painting. Each example is a striking reminder of Peyton’s ability to communicate complex human emotion on a surprisingly small scale.