This volume features new paintings and drawings by the American painter Elizabeth Peyton, published on the occasion of her first solo exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in Paris. With the statement "A painter can say all he wants to with fruit, flowers, or even clouds," Edouard Manet evoked the genre of still-life painting to rebuff the heroic and overcharged history paintings of his time.
More than a century later, Elizabeth Peyton's jewel-like paintings reaffirm Manet's belief in the quiet potency of an enduring intimiste genre. Although Peyton's paintings infer a deep knowledge of historical artistic forbears from Goya to Warhol, this awareness is processed through an instinctual understanding of the time in which she lives.
Combining her insights with modest scale, a lush yet tremulous palette, and extreme graphic sensitivity, her paintings and drawings are testaments to a passion for beauty in all its forms, from the sublime to the everyday. Portraits of artists both historical and contemporary are rendered from photographs or from life. Peyton imbues each likeness with a startling freshness and immediacy, although like a still life it is distanced from its subject.