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Lady Madonna

Lady Madonna, Serigraph
Audrey Flack (American, born 1931)

Contemporary artist Audrey Flack is well known as one of the first Photorealist painters. Her work functions as a self-aware pastiche of kitschy pop culture themes and classical allusions. A student of Josef Albers, Flack received her BFA from Yale University in 1952, and was awarded an honorary degree from Cooper Union. Flack’s early works were in an Abstract Expressionist mode, but she later became interested in Photorealism, becoming one of the pioneering artists in the genre. Flack has the distinction of being the only Photorealist artist whose work is represented in the collections of New York’s four major museums.

This print, Lady Madonna (1963), is a work that Flack created when she was beginning to explore the possibilities of Photorealism. Thus, the print depicts a Madonna figure in a realistic way, as shown by the carefully modeled facial features and detailed drapery and crown of the Madonna. However, this work does not look as much like a photograph as some of Flack’s later works, such as her famous Vanitas series. Flack was the first Photorealist to have her work bought for the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collections, and her work is also present in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Walker Art Center, among many others.