Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957)
Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957)

Portrait of Charles Henri Ford (1908-2002)

Details
Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957)
Portrait of Charles Henri Ford (1908-2002)
signed and dated 'P Tchelitchew/34' (lower left)
gouache, ink and sequins on board
21¾ x 17¼ in. (55.2 x 43.6 cm.)
Executed in 1934

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Amelia Walker
Amelia Walker

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Lot Essay

Considered by many to be America’s first Surrealist poet, Charles Henri Ford was also an editor and novelist, who famously co-wrote the gay novel The Young and Evil (1933) with Parker Tyler(1904-1974). Tchelitchew’s companion from 1933 until his death in 1957, Ford is the subject of one of Tchelitchew’s most sensuous portraits, Portrait of Charles Henri Ford in a Poppy Field (1932).
This later portrait demonstrates Tchelitchew’s use of unusual materials, like sand or coffee grains, to maximise the textural impact of his work. Tchelitchew uses the reflective qualities of sequins to enliven the surface, lending the contours of Ford’s face a glistening luminosity. The same technique can be seen in Tchelitchew’s commissioned portrait of the cosmetics giant Helena Rubinstein (1872-1965), Portrait of Helena Rubinstein encrusted with sequins (1934).  
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