Friday, September 4, 2009

Why Hello There, Mr Grant!

This rather remarkable portrait is the work of one Kurt Kauper, a contemporary artist based in New York.

He applies his technique - a spare, reductive painting style reminiscent of magazine illustrations and of predecessors like Grant Wood, with a hint of Van Eyck and perhaps the quattrocento - to pictures like this, which startle with their combination of virtuosity and something unsettling - in the case of this run of paintings, unlikely subjects naked as the day they were born. He's done an entire series of Cary Grant, for example, and another of hockey players.

Grant is a canny choice: the most artificially (and successfully) constructed of male stars, a man defined by his dapper image who seems always and at the same time deeply familiar and somehow unknowable. And, of course, not at all hard on the eyes.

Stripped, he still radiates his familiar Hollywood confidence, striding through his archetypal star's house interior, but as viewers, we're distracted, by the tanlines (very period correct) and what they frame. It's kind of a stunt, but kind of wonderful.

I wonder if he could be persuaded to start an Upen Patel series...


  1. Interesting, but I think that Grant was a pube shaver. Randolf Scott hated it when one of Grants pubes would get loose in his mouth.

  2. And I haven't even had my coffee yet!