Shed the Gilt for Katherine Bernhardt

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Published February 25, 2010

KATHERINE BERNHARDT, LA PARISIENNE, 2010

 

What does it take to make a successful poster portrait, the kind you might find pinned up over the bed of a teenage boy? Is it beauty or bust-line, or something abstract, like ubiquitous desirability and fame? In two new limited edition posters completed for Gilt Groupe, painter Katherine Bernhardt makes a serious inquiry into the nature of a woman’s image—and the answer might not require the depiction of a mouth. 

When we last checked in with painter Katherine Bernhardt, she was “completely fascinated” with making portraits of that faction of devil-may-care young women known as London socialite-slash-models, specifically Alice Dellal and Agyness Deyn. Now that might fly in a gallery on the women’s unusual looks and given the aura of the context, but in a high schooler’s locker? For the posters, Bernhardt goes big time, depicting Kate Moss as La Parisienne and Penelope Cruz as Mangocita. Both are rendered in a vague exotic form—waifish but irrepressibly British Moss as the fin-de-siecle art nouveau muse, and Cruz via a strange garbling of her ethnic heritage. Perhaps, Bernhardt seems to suggest, these women lose something in translation.

THE PRINTS GO ON SALE MARCH 4, 12 PM EST, EXCLUSIVELY ON GILT.COM. THE GILT GROUPE, ART AND ADVISORY, AND INTERVIEW HOST A LAUNCH FOR THE POSTERS ON MARCH 2 AT NORWOOD, NEW YORK. ATTENDANCE BY INVITE ONLY.