Our Philip Pearlstein Nude by
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Prompted By Priciest Purchase

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Nude on Blue Rug  1970

One weekend many years ago Danny and I visited friends in Pittsburgh and they took us to a local art gallery.

We had no intention of buying anything but one lithograph  – Nude on Blue Rug – caught our eye,  perhaps partly because we had a very similar rug in our bedroom!   The price wasn’t exorbitant for an artwork – $3,000 – but we were younger then with a smaller bank account,  yet we couldn’t resist the image and we bought it.

That day the artist – Philip Pearlstein –  was unknown to us,  but since then we’ve been following his rising career and he’s now a critically acclaimed painter known for his Modernist Realism nudes.

Born in 1924,  Pearlstein is a Pittsburgh native who studied as a child at the Carnegie Museum of Art,  and later at the Carnegie Institute of Technology’s art school.  Then in 1943 he was drafted by the US Army and stationed in Italy where he took in as much Renaissance art as possible.

After the war Pearlstein continued his art education at Carnegie on the GI Bill,  and after graduating left for New York with his fellow aspiring Pittsburgh artist Andy Warhol.

The two roomed together for awhile and during that time Pearlstein painted Warhol’s portrait,  now held by New York’s Whitney Museum.

Portrait of Andy Warhol  circa 1948

The prolific Pearlstein has won many awards,  held art professorships at Pratt Institute and Yale University,  and is represented in the collections of over 70 art museums.

Now living in New York,  at age 98 Philip Pearlstein is still painting!

Self Portrait  2000

– Dana Susan Lehrman 

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Philip Pearlstein, Artists, Andy Warhol
Characterizations: moving, right on!, well written


  1. Marian says:

    Cool painting, Dana, and you are privileged to have it. Interesting that the price tag matches that of my desk.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    Pearlstein is now a VERY well-known artist Dana. Good eye, good purchase and great that you were able to invest that much money, even then. We see his work advertised all the time. I like the fact you were drawn to this piece because the rug is similar to the one in your bedroom. Always good to have a personal connection.

    • Thanx Betsy!
      We do go to see Pearlstein’s work whenever we can, at the New York gallery that represents him, at the Athenaeum in Hartford, and luckily we were in London in 2018 when the Saatchi Gallery mounted a large Pearlstein show.

      But must confess I like his earlier works and portraits rather than his later works when, inexplicably to me, he introduced cartoon characters and children’s toys into his nude paintings! But I do love his style!

  3. Suzy says:

    How fun that you bought this lithograph many years ago when you could barely afford it. Sounds like it might be much more valuable now! But whether it is or not, the most important thing is that it gives you pleasure. Did you hang it in your bedroom where the rug is?

  4. John Shutkin says:

    My former brother-in-law bought a very similar Perlstein many years ago. His wife’s parents (also my in-laws) were quite a bit shocked when they saw it hanging in their bedroom. He kept stressing that it was a great investment and I kidded him to the effect of, “Yeah; and I buy Playboy for the interviews,” but he was exactly right.

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Still painting at age 88 —quite an inspiration. The work you bought is quite striking and beautiful, so definitely worth the cost for you regardless of whether or not Pearlstein became well known.

  6. Susan Bennet says:

    A stunning picture, Dana, and as others have said, you had a “good eye.” I am a descendant of Puritans, though, and I must confess my eyes widened (involuntarily) at the subject. Reminds me of a trip to the Musee D’Orsay in Paris, where I noticed men moving to and from and circling back, like bees, to a small painting. Curious, I made my way there to see what the fuss was about and found a 19th c. oil by Bernard, I believe, a close-up of, well… That said, this is a painting one could live with and look at and love forever. Lucky you!

    • Oh dear Susan, sorry to shock you!

      In an 19th century art history class I took at Hunter College a few years ago we didn’t study Bernard, who I know painted nudes, but the professor did tell us that Renoir – who certainly painted voluptuous women – was known as the artist who painted with his prick. (It sounded better in French!)

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