Details — Click to read
Lithograph on Folio Creme paper. Edition 30. Signed by the artist lower center. Numbered lower left in pencil; dated 1989 lower right in pencil.
While it is based on a movie poster, the composition of Gigi could double as a book cover, certainly not an accident given Ricard’s numerous published books and poems. Indeed, this lithograph was published in Ricard’s 1990 book of poetry Trusty Sarcophagus, next to the printed text of the poem.
Touched by the influence of Andy Warhol, champion of a young Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rene Ricard served as enfant terrible of the 1980s New York art scene. This red and black lithograph replicates the splashy red film title for the 1958 MGM film starring Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier. Based on a Colette novel, GiGi follows a plucky young Parisienne who captures the heart of a wealthy aristocrat. The title is written with bold red brushstrokes at the top of the sheet. Ricard changed the title from GiGi, to gigi, with the lowercase text and girlish handwriting evoking an archetypal young, innocent girl. Below the title, a poem printed in black reads: “gigi / When I / died they / discovered I / was still a / 13 yr. old / girl / Named Willy”. The loosely-drawn letters express a pensive emotion at odds with the urgent energy of the lipstick red painted title.
As an author, Ricard’s increasing use of text in his work over the 1980’s reflects his interest in the written word. His confessional hand-painted and hand-written poetry is almost always accompanied by the artist’s outsized signature, integrated into the composition, or placed at its center. Here, Ricard’s signature is printed in bold iridescent ink, displaying the artist’s unabashed confidence and flamboyance.