Chinese Girl by Vladimir Tretchikoff


Chinese Girl


Vladimir Tretchikoff

Ref SPS7160
Type Print
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Undoubtedly Tretchikoff's most iconic work, the Chinese Girl remains the most widely reproduced and recognisable of his oeuvre. The highest-selling art print in history, in the 1950s and '60s the Chinese Girl captured imaginations and pride of place above mantelpieces across the globe. The painting is of a Chinese girl and is best known for the unusual skin tone used for her face. The green-blue patina-like effect of the sitter's face is uncanny, heightening the red of her lips and framed by her lustrous dark hair. The deftly-handled golden hues and decorative detail of her tunic emerge from the lines of charcoal on brown canvas. Notably, the combination of lustrous golden silk and the blue-sheen of the model's skin combine to produce an otherworldly glow: a luminescence that is the leitmotif of Tretchikoff's best works. The work is inspired by the sitter, Monika Sing-Lee, she was 17 at the time and was spotted by Tretchikoff working in her uncle's launderette in Sea Point, Cape Town. The painting is Tretchikoff's second variation on the theme, after the first (using a different model) was destroyed in a robbery at the artist's studio in South Africa. The original sold for almost $1.5 million (£982,050) at Bonhams auction house in London on March 20, 2013. The painting was purchased by British jeweler Laurence Graff and was exhibited shortly after the sale in Stellenbosch, a town 31miles (50 km) east of Cape Town, South Africa.