27 December 2013

Tretchikoff is 100!

Yesterday was Vladimir Tretchikoff's centenary. He was born on 26 December (Old Style: 13 December) 1913.

19 December 2013

Green Lady - beautiful body!

© 2013 Emma Hack

If you happen to be in Adelaide, Australia, in February 2014, go and see this amazing work by a local artist, Emma Hack.

She's the one who produced body art featured in Australian singer Gotye's hit video Somebody That I Used to Know.

Hack will showcase her new work - women body-painted in iconic images from the 1950 - at the Adelaide Fringe from 14 February.

Her artistic statement goes like this:

'The beauty behind some of the world's most gorgeous images of woman are filled with intrigue and a deeper sense of how women have been viewed throughout the mid 20th century. Beautiful women captures the sensitivity of Hack's creations, inspired by artists, cultures and filmmakers views of woman from the past.'

© 2013 Emma Hack

01 December 2013

Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl Unveiled at Delaire Graff Estate

Ms Pon-su-san with the Chinese Girl painting
On Friday 29th November 2013, Vladimir Tretchikoff’s iconic painting Chinese Girl returned home to South Africa, unveiled at Delaire Graff Estate by Tretchikoff’s original model, Monika Pon-su-san.

The piece, which is said to be one of the most reproduced and recognisable paintings in the world was acquired by Chairman of Graff Diamonds, Laurence Graff OBE in March 2013.

Commenting on the painting Mr Graff said: “As a young man, I noticed the image of Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl continuously displayed in many different locations in print form.

“It was the first piece of art that made an impact on me, and I believe ignited my interest and passion for art. You can imagine my surprise to have learned of the sale of the original painting and of course, my decision to buy it was immediate.”
Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Daughter, Mimi Mercorio and Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Granddaughter, Natasha Swift

The unveiling of Chinese Girl was marked by a special fundraising event in support of Graff Diamonds’ charitable foundation For Africa’s Children Every Time (FACET), which aims to support the education, health and well-being of the people of sub-Saharan Africa.

Guests were treated to insights from leading Tretchikoff experts; Andrew Lamprecht (Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Town), Boris Gorelik (Writer, Historian and Tretchikoff Biographer) and Stephan Welz (Managing Director at Strauss & Co) followed by a delicious four course menu accompanied by Delaire Graff wine pairings and a charity auction.

All proceeds raised at the unveiling will be used to support FACET’s three charitable initiatives in Lesotho, Botswana and the winelands of Stellenbosch.

Tretchikoff's Madonna

This is Madonna of the East, painted in Jakarta during World War 2.

It's the first painting Tretchikoff sold after he moved to South Africa in 1946.

The picture belongs to the Rupert family, owners of the Rembrandt Group (Cartier, Alfred Dunhill, Piaget, Baume & Mercier, Vacheron Constantin and Montblanc). But you won't find it at the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch. There's no way they'd have a Tretchikoff on display there!

25 November 2013

What if this was signed 'Tretchikoff'?

Ellies' Fashion Diary has posted a gorgeous photo session done by Terence Donovan for a Pirelli calendar in the 1980s.




But I wonder what the art establishment would say if these were paintinings done by Tretchikoff. He created many similar works during his career:



For these, he was accused of objectifying his models and entrenching racial stereotypes. Interesting, eh?

By the way, Tretchikoff didn't paint his black models naked because this would have been unthinkable in the apartheid South Africa where he lived!

21 November 2013

Tretchikoff's Chinese Girl to be unveiled in South Africa



On Friday, 29th November 2013, Vladimir Tretchikoff’s iconic painting Chinese Girl will be unveiled at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch.

Tretchikoff's best-known work and the most famous painting in the history of South African art was acquired by Chairman of Graff Diamonds, Laurence Graff OBE in March 2013. The sale was handled by Bonhams, London. Graff's company is said to have handled more diamonds of notable rarity and beauty than any other jeweller.

Commenting on the painting, the new owner said: 'As a young man, I noticed the image of Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl continuously displayed in many different locations in print form. It was the first piece of art that made an impact on me, and I believe ignited my interest and passion for art. You can imagine my surprise to have learned of the sale of the original painting and of course, my decision to buy it was immediate.'

The unveiling of Chinese Girl will be marked by a special fund-raising event in support of Graff Diamonds’ charitable foundation For Africa’s Children Every Time (FACET), which aims to support the education, health and well-being of the people of sub-Saharan Africa.

Guests will be treated to insights from leading Tretchikoff experts; Boris Gorelik (writer, historian and author of Incredible Tretchikoff, the first complete biography of the artist), Riason Naidoo (Director: Iziko Art Collections South African National Gallery & Old Town House) and Stephan Welz (Managing Director at Strauss & Co) followed by a delicious four course menu accompanied by Delaire Graff wine pairings and a charity auction.

All proceeds raised at the unveiling will be used to support FACET’s three charitable initiatives in Lesotho, Botswana and the winelands of Stellenbosch.  

Johann Laubser, General Manager at Delaire Graff Estate commented: 'From 30th November 2013, Chinese Girl will be placed on public display at the Estate. I’m certain it will attract a lot of attention and my team and I look forward to welcoming all those who visit us to experience this beautiful piece first-hand.”

Delaire Graff Estate is one of South Africa’s finest vineyards and was acquired by Laurence Graff in 2003. A state of the art winery and restaurant opened in 2009 followed by its lodges and spa in May 2010. The Estate is now considered to be one of South Africa’s leading luxury destinations, winning accolades for its wine, food, design and accommodation.

Chinese Girl was one of the world’s best-selling prints of the fifties and sixties. Tretchikoff claimed to have sold over half a million large format reproductions of the print.

09 October 2013

Miss Wong: forever young

Rian Hughes. Miss Wong, 2001
This 21st-century version of Tretchikoff's Miss Wong was created by British graphic designer, typographer and illustrator Rian Hughes.

© myfonts.com

‘Tretchikoff’s art is considered beautiful and evocative – two terms you will rarely hear mentioned by modern fine artists, but that has strong resonance for people in the real world,’ says Rian. ‘Tretchikoff refused to play the art gallery game. What we see displayed in establishment galleries is generally controlled by a self-appointed aesthetic elite who place themselves between the product and the consumer. That’s why I like graphic design and illustration. It’s democratic, it’s art for reproduction. It reaches a wide audience in the same manner that music can, and thus can be a vibrant part of the cultural landscape.’

08 October 2013

Lenka has died

1913-2013
Leonora Schmidt-Salomonson passed away on 1 August, according to the obituary in today's Times. She was 99 years old.

Lady of the Tropics
Lenka, as Tretchikoff called her (a diminutive for the Russian name Lena), was his model, his muse and his lover during World War 2, when he lived in Jakarta, released on parole by Japanese occupation authorities. 

Red Jacket
In October 2012, Red Jacket, one of the many Tretchikoff's portraits of Lenka, was sold for  £337,250 at Bonhams, London.

Watch Yvonne du Toit's documenrary Red Jacket to learn more about Lenka's story. To order a DVD, write to joyride@xsinet.co.za

A tribute to Pricess Di with a twist

Diana Tretchikoff by York-born artist David Kettley.

Kettley enjoyed Tretchikoff’s work since his early teens when the prints were sold in high-street shops.

‘Tretchikoff’s painting of Miss Wong has been an important icon to me’, says the artist. ‘When I decided to embark on a portrait of Diana, I wanted to emphasise her own iconic status. Combining the two images gave me the opportunity to show my respect to both Tretchikoff and Diana.’

07 October 2013

One of the many 'Green Ladies'

An advert for the Green Lady label (US). They made cool t-shirts in the 1990s.
The name Green Lady was an open vessel that we could pour different ideas into’, says the label founder Todd St John. ‘We’d come across the Tretchikoff painting and a similar one by another artist occasionally in thrift stores. Also, there was a Star Trek episode that featured a character that was a green alien woman. These were all of the same era, so we were struck by the fact that these similar images were appearing in multiple places and not sure why.’

Vina as a 'green Orion animal woman' (Star Trek)