Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Green Lady

On my thrift wish list is a print of the wonderfully kitsch "Chinese lady' by Vladimir Tretchikoff . I love its gaudy colours and it reminds me of the bright pop art that painters like Andy Warhol immortalized. It is lovely in a vintage nostalgic kind of way and above all - it is fun and doesn't take itself too seriously.

The 'Green lady' was painted in 1952 (when Tretchikoff was 39) and became the world's biggest-selling print. In effect, Tretchikoff was the world's first mass-market artist. The 'Green lady', described as the "Mona Lisa of kitsch", hung on the walls of half a million suburban homes around the world. I remember seeing her in restaurants and homes of friends' parents decorating otherwise dark and drab places. She was everywhere.

She is actually a real person. She was called Lenka and was Tretchikoff's lover, they met in a NYC restauraunt in the late 40s. Apparently Lenka had a fascination for all things paranormal.

Although Treatchikoff wasn't taken seriously by the big art collectors after he went for a mass market approach, his print sales made him the most highly paid artist in the world after Picasso.

My wishful thinking is that someone somewhere in NYC will decide that they canot live with the Green Lady anymore and will give her to a good home....I will find her in a thrift store, dust her off and hang her on my living room wall. She'll look perfect.

For more vintage goodness, see Vintage Thingies Thursdays


  1. I have had a ball looking over your blog, and I never thought of thrift shopping in NY...but now....I seriously, think this would be so much fun, and can only imagine what treasures would be found....I am sure I will think about this all week!! What an unusual art work, I have never seen anything like it...very interesting.

    Have a great VTT and a wonderful holiday week!

  2. That is interesting. I never heard of that artist or print.

  3. This print has always attracted my eye except, to me, it looks like a white person's idea of what a Chinese woman looks like. She is beautiful.

  4. I had not seen this before but the history is interesting. It does have that 1940's allure.

  5. What an interesting story.
    If I ever see a print I'll grab it for you!

  6. What an interesting post. Thank you for sharing information regarding this artist. What do you think prompted him to paint her fact green????



  7. I am always hoping to find that elusive treasure in a thrift store one day. Happy VTT


  8. Hmmm......interesting. I'll keep my eyes peeled for you too.

  9. I have never seen that picture before but I will certainly be looking now. It's very interesting to know the history of it.

  10. Ok, I thought she looked familiar! She really is quite lovely. Great story behind it too. I really hope that you find one soon. In the meantime, it can't hurt to tell everyone that you're looking for one. This is a good place to start! I'll keep an eye out for her too!
    Happy VTT!

  11. Thanks for introducing us to the Green Lady and the artist. Interesting.

  12. She is beautiful, isn't she?
    I had forgotten about Green Lady and now I want her too. You though have wanted her much longer than I so if I ever meet the Green Lady, I shall send her your way.
    It really is a beautiful piece of art.

  13. That would be a great conversation point at parties. She definitely attracted my attention. I've never seen her before. Good luck on your search:)