Elizabeth Peyton

Elizabeth Peyton, Illustrator et al. Rizzoli $50 (263p) ISBN 978-0-8478-2752-7

It's fitting that Peyton's first major show was in room 828 of Manhattan's fabled Chelsea Hotel, whose residents have included everyone from Thomas Wolfe to Sid Vicious. Her portraits—whether of Edwardian poet Rupert Brooke, Prince Harry or her friends—seem to emerge from the same timeless, eternal bohemia that the hotel exemplifies. The portraits recorded in this lavish volume—small, and painted with an offhand casualness that doesn't quite conceal a formidable technique—are idealized and emotional rather than "warts and all" realistic. Her Kurt Cobain more closely resembles a Renaissance cherub (by way of Walter Keane) than the ravaged child of his videos and photographs; her young Queen Elizabeth is creamy and serene, with none of the real subject's characteristic wariness. But Peyton's art is about emotional truth and visual intensity. If the book has a fault it is a certain sameness and repetition: Peyton's work hasn't developed all that much since the Chelsea Hotel show of 1993, and what in a gallery might surprise and refresh becomes, over the course of 200 pages, cloying. Peyton's achievement is, nonetheless, impressive: she has helped return the painted portrait to the mainstream discourse of American art. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 112 pages - 978-88-6208-077-4
Hardcover - 128 pages - 978-88-8158-738-4
Hardcover - 112 pages - 978-3-95476-076-3
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