Tretchikoff was born in Russia in 1913 but moved to China in 1917 at the onset of the Russian Revolution. He later moved to Singapore before finally settling in South Africa after the Second World War.
The Chinese Girl is probably better known to many as The Green Lady and was painted by Tretchikoff in 1950. The painting is actually Tretchikoff’s second attempt at this theme with the original version (using a different model) being destroyed when his South African studio was robbed.
The model for The Chinese Girl was a 17-year old girl called Monika Sing-Lee who Tretchikoff spotted working in a Cape Town launderette owned by his uncle.
The picture was hugely popular with the general public in the 60’s and 70’s but was always looked down on by the art world and Tretchikoff became known as the King of Kitsch. He said before he died in 2006 that he believed around half a million full size copies of The Chinese Girl had been sold. In addition to this the image was used on many other items such as mugs and tea towels as well as being sold in a smaller format reproduction. Although selling well around the world, the work was particularly popular in the Uk and The Commonwealth.
The original painting was bought by a woman in Chicago whilst Tretchikoff was touring the US in the 50’s and it has remained in the same family ever since. Prior to coming to London for the auction the painting will be on display in New York and Johanesburg.
The painting is being sold as part of an auction of South African art at Bonhams on 20 March. The Chinese Girl has a guide price of £300-500k and is sure to surpass the record price for a work by Tretchikoff which currently stands at £337k. This was achieved by his picture Portrait of Lenka (Red Jacket). a semi-nude work featuring his lover and muse Lenka (real name Leonara Schmidt-Salomonson).
Nude Sherlock Star To Appear In Bond Biopic – Lara Pulver, the actress whose character captivated Sherlock Holmes when she appeared nude in front of him, is to feature in a new biopic of James Bond creator Ian Fleming.
The 32-year old actress caused a bit of a stir in the series when she appeared naked in front of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock character. Her character of Irene Adler was taken directly from the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories. Adler is the strongest of the female characters in the Sherlock Holmes stories and it is believed that he based Irene on the real life character of Lola Montez, an Irish dancer who was the lover of Ludwig 1 of Bavaria. The King eventually bestowed upon Montez the title of the Countess of Landsfeld.
As well as making a big impression on his Sherlock character it is thought that in reality Lara’s naked performance impressed actor Benedict Cumberbatch as the pair were said to be romantically linked last year.
In the new Ian Fleming biopic Lara is to play the part of Ann O’Neill. Ann became Fleming’s wife in 1952 after her divorce from her second husband Viscount Rothermere. This marriage broke down due to Ann’s affair with Fleming, who she had known since before the marriage took place in 1945. Even as early as 1947 it seems Ann and Fleming had rekindled their romance as she stayed with him at his Jamaican Goldeneye estate when she had in fact told her husband she was staying with Noel Coward at his neighbouring property.
The new biopic will star Dominic Cooper in the role of Ian Fleming as well as also featuring Samuel West and Anna Chancellor. The Show is being produced for Sky Atlantic and filming is expected to start later this year in the UK and Bulgaria.
Lara has recently been talking about her breakthrough role as Irene Adler in Sherlock and said that she would love it if she could make a return to the series as the whip bearing dominatrix. From the reception the character got first time round it would certainly be a popular return.