Elizabeth Peyton’s paintings have been popular since the mid-1990s. Using oil paints, she creates stylized renderings of her friends and muses, alongside pop culture icons and European monarchs. Most of her paintings are relatively small portraits, and her work has regularly formed a part of exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, and London, including at the Royal Academy. She has named the photographers Robert Mapplethorpe, Alfred Stieglitz, and Nadar as formative influences, all of whom made images of their close friends and acquaintances. Peyton uses photographs as a basis for her paintings, and recent work has included portraits of musicians such as Kanye West and The Libertines.
While Peyton’s work in oils is the most widely-seen of her artistic creations, she has also worked in pencil, watercolour and etching. An ambiguous sexuality is often noticeable in the figures she draws, together with a melancholy mood. Her print work demonstrates an interest in material experimentation. She has produced woodcuts, lithographs and monotypes. In 2006, Elizabeth Peyton received the 14th Annual Larry Aldrich Award, which recognised her significant contribution to visual culture. Elizabeth Peyton was born in 1965 and studied at the School of Visual Arts. She lives in New York. She has said her paintings are “all about the things that make up a picture – the feelings, the brushstrokes – more than describing somebody.”