The Story of Mel in Upholstered Chair

Lillian Delevoryas In The Library Upholstered Chair

Lillian Delevoryas shares her story of the wonderful study of Mel in Upholstered Chair, a unique, original artwork from her In The Library Collection.

“This was one of the first pieces I created using predominantly collaged pattern.

In the earlier pieces, whenI began experimenting with the technique (since my painting hand ‘packed in’ after a shoulder replacement), I was more tentative about including printed and collaged sections, but with this one I decided to do the foreground and a lot of the surrounding area with printed pattern.  Also, the face was a collage taken from an earlier portrait I had painted from Mel, my model.  It was such a good profile, I thought using it in this context would work.  After these major areas were solved, the rest of the painting fell into place with bookshelves, etc. The geometry of the black triangle and the bookcases balanced the pattern nicely.

My model Mel looked so good with just parts of her emerging from the upholstered chair, I thought this would be great for a painting.

It’s a different image altogether from the rest of the images in the ‘In the Library’ collection, and for that reason stands out. Because it was truly a ‘one off’, I doubt if it will be followed by more of the same – particularly since I’m involved in a completely different project….But you never know.

Mel (who was my cleaner a few years ago) was beautiful and decorative in whatever pose she took – and I was always telling her to ‘hold it!’ until I did a quick sketch or photographed her.”

To view more of this original Lillian Delevoryas painting please visit her In The Library collection.

Lillian’s collection was inspired by Matisse and this quote from Dougcube is particularly relevant to her artwork:

“It is Henri Matisse’s most controversial saying. “What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject-matter, an art which could be for every mental worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters, for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.” Critics pounce on this quote, arguing that Matisse’s concern for beauty leads to comfort on the part of the viewer, indulgence, complacency. It is no way to change the world. But let’s be fair to Matisse. The artist took up art relatively late in life–at the age of 20–while recovering from an operation. Art was a form of therapy. The armchair simile may be Matisse’s way of saying that art has healing or restorative properties. Restful as the chair may be, in the charcoal drawing above, the ballerina in it seems to dancing. She is at once at rest and in motion, limp but graceful. As a dancer, she is also an artist, so Matisse may be commenting on his own process. Art involves both activity and its opposite.”

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