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Elizabeth Peyton

 (born 1965)
Elizabeth Peyton is active/lives in New York, Connecticut.  Elizabeth Peyton is known for pop art and and romantic portrait painting.

Elizabeth Peyton

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Elizabeth Peyton
"Angela Merkel’s Humanity, Captured in an Elizabeth Peyton Oil" by Melissa Eddy, July 23, 2017, Art & Design section, The New York Times.

“Her face is so determined and tender,” the artist Elizabeth Peyton said of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor."

BERLIN — The last time Vogue profiled a prominent European female leader, Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, she agreed to be captured by Annie Leibovitz in a rainbow array of coats and her trademark leopard-print kitten heels.

But for the August 2017 issue, featuring another — perhaps the most — powerful woman in Europe, the likeness of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was rendered not in a glossy shoot by Ms. Leibovitz, the star photographer, but in an oil painting in muted primary hues by the American artist Elizabeth Peyton.

As Kati Marton lays out in her profile of the 63-year-old German chancellor — made available to the author for a single question — Ms. Merkel is patently uninterested in the trappings of leadership in the modern, hypermedia age. She leaves tweeting to her spokesman and parcels out interviews based on her need to clarify a policy position.

It was not the first time that a United States publication has turned to an artist to capture the chancellor’s likeness. When Time magazine named her Person of the Year in 2015, editors there tapped the artist Colin Davidson to paint an oil portrait of Ms. Merkel that appeared on the cover.

Ms. Peyton, born in 1965, began her career exhibiting work in unconventional settings like the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. At a time when figurative painting was deeply unpopular and portraiture was generally scorned, she became famous for her stylized portraits of pop-culture icons and historical figures.

For Vogue, Ms. Peyton drew from a vast collection of photographic images to contemplate the spirit of Ms. Merkel, a woman who had captured Ms. Peyton’s imagination for her strength and, at the same time, what she viewed as her tenderness.

“I just looked at a million photos, the photos of her from the last 30 years,” Ms. Peyton said. “I noticed how much her face changed in the last two years, especially in the last two months — there was such pain visible. I was really conscious of that.”

Still, she wanted her painting to be more iconic than literal, she said. She captured the chancellor’s intensely clear blue eyes and exaggerated the tilt of her mouth, giving her a bemused look.

“Her face is so determined and tender, there is this hopefulness that leadership could lead you to a better place,” Ms. Peyton said.

She added: “I was feeling one of her biggest strengths is her humanity; there is just nothing like that in my world that I see right now. It’s like a superpower.”

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Elizabeth Peyton
A New York City based artist, Elizabeth Peyton focuses on portraits of famous people. She uses media photographs for her source material and reflects her love of the famous in her painted portraits, which have glossy surfaces.

She made her name with a series of portraits of 19th century Romantic figures in a 1993 show at the Chelsea Hotel by Gavin Brown. In 1995, she did a series of adoring portraits of suicide rocker Kurt Cobain and has also done numerous portraits of David Hockney.

Her work is very personal, making it "OK to talk about the emotional content of painting again, to talk about desire and love and longing."

Her colors resemble those of a cosmetics counter, and her subjects are generally focused on alienated youth or on everyday pastimes.

Peyton was born in Danbury, Connecticut and earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1987.

Susan Hanson, "Making Faces", ARTnews, February 2006

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About  Elizabeth Peyton

Born:  1965 - Danbury, Connecticut
Known for:  pop art and and romantic portrait painting