Skip navigation

Category Archives: Tretchikoff

Fans of Tretchikoff might want to check out these stunning murals. Here’s the Surface View blog. That’s Wayne Hemingway there…Wayne is an English designer, founder of Red or Dead and author of Just Above The Mantelpiece: Mass-Market Masterpieces.

Here’s something that I had not noticed before.
I recently watched
Performance (1970) by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg- one of my favourite movies. In the scene where Moody and Rosenbloom are in Tony Farell’s bedroom we see Chinese Girl by Vladimir Tretchikoff…


This is not he only time, of course, that Tretchikoff has featured in movies. Here are two other notable examples:


As Charles Darwent wrote in The Independent newspaper’s obituary of Tretchikoff in September 2006:
A Tretchikoff had only to appear over Bob Rusk’s chimneypiece in Hitchcock’s Frenzy (1972) for the audience to know that Rusk was odd; the Green Lady on the wall of Alfie’s Ruby in 1966 marked her out as irredeemably modern.
As a maker of cultural artefacts, if not of art, Tretchikoff was a master.


Based on Tretchikoff’s enduring popularity I’m guessing that there must be literally hundreds of other such examples of his work appearing in movies or TV, either as signifiers as shown by Darwent or nowadays as a shorthand for retro kitschism.

Here’s a gorgeous change from our usual Brazilian music…

Tous les garçons et les filles is the debut LP of the French singer Françoise Hardy, initially released in November 1962 when she was 18 years old.
Like many of Hardy’s earlier albums, it was released with no title, except for her name on the cover, but has become known by the title of the most successful song on the album,
Tous les garçons et les filles.
On its belated release in the USA the LP was given the swingin’ title
The “Yeh-Yeh” Girl From Paris!

(Incidentally- in Joao Kartoshka’s opinion Françoise is one of the most beautiful women of all time).
Here also is a portrait of Françoise painted by Tretchikoff:

Tretchikoff met Françoise Hardy when she was touring South Africa, and realised that she was an ideal model for a subject that he had long wanted to paint. Tretchikoff said of this picture:
It was inspired by the knowledge that there is a rainy day in every young girl’s life, a day when she feels insecure, imprisoned within herself, and the world seems wet and bleak…


Express your passion, do whatever you love, take action, no matter what– Tretchikoff
What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? -Van Gogh

Why the one is considered an absolute genius and the other The King of Kitsch?
One never sold a painting in his lifetime whilst the other made a fortune from his work…
What are the relative merits of these paintings?
My argument is: The people who involve themselves in art are by nature romantically inclined. They become seduced by a tragic story such as that of Van Gogh- his life blighted by some mental infirmity or neurological disorder. His determination to produce art in which no one else saw any merit, his unrequited love…we wish to see ourselves in stories. So the cult grows and it becomes a case of the emperor’s new clothes.

On Vladimir Tretchikoff (Владимир Григорьевич Третчиков) (1913 –2006):

He achieved everything that Andy Warhol stated he wanted to do but could never achieve because of his coolness. Wayne Hemingway in his book Just Above The Mantelpiece.

You put a brick in the Tate today and it’s art. Who decided that the Green Lady is kitsch? Not the hundreds of thousands who bought it. Uri Geller

Who are the arbiters of taste? The old cliché stands- I dunno much about art but I know what I like. I don’t apply any postmodern ironies to my admiration of the artists that I’m going to cover on these pages. I think they are good pictures, and that they were created by talented artists.
Tretchikoff was one of the most commercially successful artists of all time. He once said that the only difference between himself and Van Gogh was that he had become rich whereas Van Gogh had starved.
Chinese Girl (often called Green Lady) was painted in 1950.