Philip Pearlstein

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Philip Pearlstein

From Travis Louie

Published before 2005


I'm not so sure that your comparisons between Virgil's work and Mr. Pearlstein's is correct. I think all of Pearlstein's work from that period looks basically the same in quality. You're comparing his version of "finished" paintings to Virgil's studies. I know there was one finished painting of Virgil's that you posted a link to, but the quality of light in that painting is more accurate than any of Pearlstein's work. Most of the negative commentary on Pearlstein's work is based on the way he paints the flesh of his figures. I never particularly cared for it myself (the texture is not right). The scale of these paintings should allow for him to do a better job of it (I've seen some of these up close), however, I think he chooses not to pull out those kinds of details (I'm not saying he can't). Perhaps, it is a product of his style, probably not from photos. Getting beyond the technical aspects of the work, I also don't like what he paints, it doesn't draw me in. I would say confidently, that Virgil Elliott has more painting knowledge than Pearlstein, and at this stage of the game I doubt very much that he'll ever acquire it. The review that you posted a link to, of Mr. Pearlstein's work, is written by someone who doesn't seem to know the difference. He brings up the idea that Pearlstein's work is in the tradition of Ingres? Now that's an incorrect assumption if I ever heard one. Sure, they both used oil paint, but it kind of stops there!