I love the cheeky attitude, the layers of texture and colour, the juxtaposition of graffiti-style text with traditional imagery.
What I really fell for was a re-working of The Duchess of Windsor‘s official portrait. I have been fascinated by Wallis Simpson since I was in grade 6 and did a project on Queen Elizabeth II. My mum told me the story of “The King and Mrs. Simpson,” and I always wondered what she must have been like; she seemed so powerful and mysterious and romantic and tragic. She was a complicated person– elegant and witty, charismatic and intelligent, reviled by the press (who even accused her of being a Nazi sympathizer), she is credited with having said, “You have no idea how hard it is to live out the greatest romance of the century.” Now that I am older and know more about her, I think that, despite the sad end to her life, she’d like these irreverent, slightly dark alterations to her portrait. Wallis used her wit and her cheeky comments like armour, so it’s only fitting that her official portrait be altered to reflect her fighting spirit.
I think she’d approve.
So, when I saw this painting, it stole my heart. I could not stop thinking about it. And so, after much deliberation, I bought it. It arrives in two weeks! I liked the blue version above (with a nod to “Wallis Blue“), but the neon pink graffiti sealed the deal.
If I were a rich girl, I’d have gone with the triptych with excerpts from Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” on it.
How perfect for me!