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Image of Ellen in Tutu

Philip Pearlstein
American, 1924–2022

Ellen in Tutu


Object Type: Print
25 3/8 in. x 33 1/8 in. (64.45 cm x 84.14 cm)
Medium and Support: Color lithograph on paper
Accession Number: 2002.0012.0008

Credit Line: Gift of Lila and Ralph Franco
Copyright: © Philip Pearlstein. Licensed by ARS, New York, NY

Philip Pearlstein was one of the first artists to adopt a figurative style in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he and fellow artists working with figurative realism became known as the New Realists. Pearlstein exemplifies this movement with his portraits of friends and neighbors that utilized shallow, flattened space, and a simplified color palette. His highly realistic imagery is not meant to flatter, but instead he takes a dispassionate eye to his subject, painting, as he states, "only that which meets his eye...allowing the subject to speak for itself."

Unlike the Photorealists, Pearlstein did not use photographs; instead he worked with live models in his studio, creating images that focus on the details of his sitters in often surprising positions and unusual vantage points. This is apparent not only in the nudes that he is best known for, but also in "Ellen in Tutu," where he depicts his model almost sliding off the edge of her seat while awkwardly holding her left arm. Pearlstein unbalances the image further by cropping her right foot from the image.

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