George and Grace
Oil on board
7 x 5 inches
“George and Grace” was inspired by the 1926 George and Ira Gershwin classic, "Someone to Watch over Me". George is indeed a reference to the song’s author, while Grace (serendipitously) was the name of the model shown in the playful, somewhat informal portrait. The song that inspired the work debuted in the first preview of the musical Oh, Kay! in Philadelphia in 1926. During the second act of the musical, actress Gertrude Lawrence performed the song alone on the stage, pouring out her feelings of loneliness, insecurity and despair to a small rag doll. However, what many people may not be aware of is that the idea to include a rag doll in the performance originated with George Gershwin himself. In regards to the addition of the doll in the scene he stated “This doll was a strange looking object I found in a Philadelphia toy store and gave to Miss Lawrence with the suggestion that she use it in the number. That doll stayed in the show for the entire run."
Much like Mr. Gershwin’s impulse to visually enhance the realization of his creation with the introducing an emotionally charged object as a “confidante” for his Kay—I have chosen an assortment of character-laden ephemera to communicate what the song means to me. It is my hope that, with a little investigation, viewers can uncover the subtle connections between the carefully chosen objects and their inspiration.
Inspired by: "Someone to Watch over Me" by George and Ira Gershwin
Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City