Anna Karina · CR006

Anna Karina


London (St. Martins)


Oil on canvas

184 x 144 inches


1963 St. Martin’s
1963 Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

Collection of the artist

Anna Karina was painted in 1963 while I was still at St Martins. It is painted on nine seperate stretchers. The paint is applied with a brush on the intersections of ruled pencil lines in order to emulate the appearance of a half-tone printed image. In the strictest sense, my paintings of this period, which include Anna Karina, are paintings of photographs rather than paintings of reality. The inspiration was a 3cm high advertisement which appeared in the London newspapers at that time were advertising Jean Luc Goddard's new Film, Vivre Sa Vie, in which the lead role was played by his wife Anna Karina. The film is in a documentary style and recounts the destruction of a young woman whose ambition it is to become a movie actress. The still photograph from the film from which my painting is derived is from the section describing her descent into prostitution. The glazing bars of the window behind her head form a cross and the whole image has an almost religious iconic status which I am sure was intended by Godard and was certainly my intention. In the film, her name is Nana, which is both the title of Emil Zola's great novel on the same subject , and the name of his protagonist (though Zola's Nana fares far better than Godard's). I wanted to monumentalise and immortalise a fragile and ephemerelnewspaper image of a film and an actress which I felt captured an urban mythology of the times.

Related works:

Anna Karina (print)

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