The Cabbage Patch Queen

It's the Cabbage Patch Queen

By Rebecca English, Daily Mail 23.10.06

Unrecognisable: The Queen by American painter George Condo. He wants to portray her nude next time

There have been the good, the bad and the downright ugly. But the latest portrait of the Queen appears to be toying with artistic licence.

The painter himself admits the monarch known for her dignity and reserve bears more than a passing resemblance to a Cabbage Patch doll.

The chubby cheeks, gurning mouth and cartoonish eyes make Elizabeth II look remarkably like the endearing dolls that every child wanted in the 1980s.

And that, no doubt, is why the portrait has been hailed by the Tate Modern as an 'interesting, imaginary work'.

American artist George Condo, whose works usually sell for six figures, claims to have modelled his work on the great Spanish artist Velazquez, imagining how the monarch might look 'on a bad day'.

'Her puffed- out cheeks are the Queen's nightmare,' he declared. 'But she is smiling, too. I suppose it is a bit like a caricature or Cabbage Patch doll but that's also because people like Cabbage Patch dolls.'

He said he was drawn to the project by 'all that history and all that jewellery'. 'What I am trying to do is get over how the Queen imagines herself,' he added, before revealing that he had even considered painting the Queen as a nude.

'I was told that you are not allowed to show members of the Royal Family nude in a public place,' he told the Sunday Times. [But] I'll be working on it next.' The oil painting was commissioned by Massimiliano Gioni, curator of the

Tate Modern's Wrong Gallery, where it hangs next to a work by Jackson Pollock. 'The norm is, well, huge respect for your queen. This picture is not of course disrespectful,' Mr Gioni said. Mr Condo completed a series of nine portraits of the Queen. One showed her with a carrot spearing her head, while another was a Picasso-style abstract.

A spokesman for Tate Modern, which was opened by the Queen in May 2000, said the portrait would be on show for several months, adding: 'George Condo is a well-respected artist and this is an imaginary portrait. Lots of works of contemporary art are done in this way.'

But Brendan Kelly of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters described it as 'embarrassingly bad'. 'When you paint a portrait of anybody you should create a legend,' he said. 'This will just create a fuss.'


The latest portrait of the Queen appears to be toying with artistic licence. American artist George Condo has managed to make the Queen look like a Cabbage Patch doll. Here, we look back at other controversial portraits of the Queen.

Bad hair day: by Robert Wraith

Stern: by Lucian Freud

Just for fun: The Queen as a barmaid in an English pub, by Wally Fawkes

Detached: by Justin Mortimer

Sausage fingers: by Antony Williams

Psychedelic: by Andy Warhol

Ghostly: by Paul McCartney

Salad days: The carrot portrait


Friendly granny: This 2005 portrait of the Queen by Australian/British artist and royalist Rolf Harris is popular
I have a most interesting piece of artwork. This was given to me by my ex-father in-law. He was a Psychiatrist until retirement. It is a very interesting and strange drawing. One Russian lady gave this to him as a gift to hang in his office. My father-in-law said that some people tried to contact him and placed ads in the local papers trying to obtain this drawing on numerous occasions. How would I go about finding information out about the potential value of this drawing and the artist?


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