Heinz Koppel

Portrait of Helen Lessore

1958

Medium
Oil paint on paper
Dimensions
Support: 787 x 484 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by John Lessore 1988
Reference
T05505

Display caption

This portrait represents Helen Lessore, who was then the artist's dealer, at The Beaux Arts Gallery, Bruton Place, London. Since 1965 when the gallery closed, Lessore's main activity has been painting. Lessore recalled that she never actually posed for the portrait, and thought Koppel had based it on small sketches of her drawn while they were seated together at dinner. Lessore is depicted wearing an imaginary crown of laurel and long mauve gloves. Koppel has exaggerated the shape of the figure's arms and fingers, and has used non-naturalistic colours. These combined with the expressive handling of the paint, convey a sense of the fantastic mood of the portrait.

Gallery label, September 2004