Philippe Le Miere 'study for triple blue boy'

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Philippe Le Miere’s study for triple blue boy pays homage to what was once the most expensive painting in the world: Thomas Gainsborough life-size ‘Blue Boy’ (1770), enigmatic on multiple levels. First, who is Blue Boy? Initially thought to be the son of a wealthy hardware merchant, then the artist’s nephew he is now considered imaginary, a study of an aristocratic type who cosplayed for kitschy masquerade balls.

Gainsborough’s ‘Blue Boy’ earned the mantle of most expensive when it was sold to American railroad magnate Henry Huntington in 1921. It was part of the transfer of power from Britain to America; as the art dealer responsible for the sale noted, “Europe has a great deal of art, and America has a great deal of money”. The loss of ‘The Blue Boy’, which was overlooked until it sold, was considered a national tragedy. For three weeks it hung at London’s National Gallery, farewelled by over 90,000 visitors. The museum’s then-director, Sir Charles Holmes, wrote on its back: “au revoir”.

While many paintings have streamed past ‘The Blue Boy’ in price and fame, it still haunts our cultural memory. The resplendent, dapper youth inspired Shirley Temple, Robert Rauschenberg and a song by Cole Porter, ‘The Blue Boy Blues’. Under his refracting hand, Le Miere recalls this shimmering fame, fusing it with Andy Warhol’s rendition of Elvis Presley ‘Triple Elvis’. Like the King of Rock, Blue Boy was larger than life – a symbol of power, lost, won, forgotten and remade.

For collectors or pop art, triple blue boy is a triple threat.

Philippe LE MIERE (1975 - )
'study for triple blue boy' 2023
acrylic on canvas
Image Size: 66 x 51 cm
Dimensions: 66 x 51 x 2 cm
Signed: Signed lower right Le Miere, inscribed verso Philippe Le Miere, title and date
Comes with Letter of Provenance

Condition is Excellent.

(c) The Artist or Assignee