The Queen after her first cigarette

1991, Acryl auf Leinwand
56 x 46 cm

Paul McCartney

""Growing up in England, obviously one of the strong images, particularly then, was the Queen." This comment from McCartney explains at least one of his motives for taking the Queen as a model for this series. But they are not portraits. Seen against the background of his free approach to painting, the Queen pictures represent communication with the living legend, an ironic salute even. The two personalities, both the Queen and McCartney, are world famous, but under different conditions. McCartney notes: "My celebrity, unlike Royal celebrity, carries with it freedom ... I can sit here, I can drive a car. Whereas their celebrity doesn't carry with it freedom, so I often feel sorry for them." And so in the first picture the artist paints a Queen who even after her first cigarette knows how to keep a stiff upper lip but who nevertheless betrays her queasiness in the pallor of her skin, painted in innumerable shades of green and white, and in the strange rolling of the left eye. If the first picture in the series appears rather disrespectful, albeit in an affectionate way, the second one approaches the institution and the person of the Queen with loving respect (in blue!). Nearer to the original, a photo in a glossy magazine, and reinforced by the use of scratching, the facial features become clearer here, and the Queen who looks out at the viewer shows off a gracious, somewhat Mona Lisa-like smile. The third Queen picture is dominated by shades of green and brown, which also provide the motto for this painting. McCartney, himself a passionate advocate of green environmental policy, associates the Queen with such ideals too.
The Queen has special significance for Paul McCartney's career as a painter, for when Paul was eleven, he won an essay competition held in honour of her coronation, and the Mayor of Liverpool presented him with a prize. McCartney invested the money with great foresight: he bought a book on contemporary art.

The Queen after her first cigarette, 1991, 56 x 46 cmThe Queen getting a joke, 1991, 51 x 41 cmA greener Queen, 1991, 56 x 46 cm

PAUL McCARTNEY paintings , Kunstforum Lz, Siegen, 1. Mai bis 25. Juli 1999
Konzeption & Organisation der Ausstellung: Kultur!Bro. Kreis Siegen-Wittgenstein
Paintings Paul McCartney. Photographs of the artist Estate of Linda McCartney

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