Chinese Girl

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Chinese Girl
Chinese girl tretchikoff.jpg
Artist Vladimir Tretchikoff
Year 1952–1953
Medium Oil on canvas

Chinese Girl (often popularly known as The Green Lady) is a 1952 painting by Vladimir Tretchikoff. It became one of the world's most popular paintings when made into prints in the 1950s and 1960s, and is one of the world's best-selling art reproductions of the twentieth century.[1] The painting is of a Chinese girl and is best known for the unusual skin tone used for her face—a blue-green colour, which gives the painting its popular name "The Green Lady". Though Tretchikoff maintained that the first version of this painting had been destroyed in Cape Town and he painted a new version during his 1953 tour of the US, researchers have found no proof of this claim.[1]

The original sold for almost $3.5 million (£982,050) at Bonhams auction house in London on 20 March 2013. It was purchased by British jeweller Laurence Graff. Since 30 November the same year, it has been on public display at Delaire Graff Estate near Stellenbosch, South Africa.[2]


The model was Monika Sing-Lee, who was around twenty at the time.[3] She was spotted by Tretchikoff while working in her uncle's launderette in Cape Town, South Africa.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

  • This painting can be seen hanging in the background of an animated living room in the music video for the song "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John.
  • It can be seen at the top of the stairs in the parochial house in Father Ted.
  • It can be seen adorning the living room of Bob Rusk, the killer in Alfred Hitchcock's 1972 film, Frenzy.
  • It is in several Monty Python TV episodes; in a skit where a door-to-door documentary presenter describes the lurid sex lives of mollusks, and in an evening with the cheap laughs, where a moustache is painted on it.
  • The painting is seen in the apartment of Ruby, Shelley Winters' character, in Alfie (1966),
  • In the Cammell and Roeg film Performance (1970).
  • In Bob's house, in the movie Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987)
  • It is also featured in the 2013 music video for the song The Stars (Are Out Tonight) by David Bowie, in which the painting hangs in Bowie's living room.
  • The painting forms the cover image of Chumbawamba's 1990 album Slap!
  • It hangs in the living room in the Mayall and Edmondson show Bottom.
  • It was featured in an episode of the BBC TV Series Call the Midwife (2015, Season 4, Episode 3).
  • It is mentioned in the Don Paterson poem "God's Gift to Women" in his collection of the same name (Faber, 1997).
  • The painting can be seen in The White Stripes "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground" video.
  • The painting hung for years in Tante Ilse's house in Carrizales, it scared a generation of her grandchildren.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Boris Gorelik (2013). Incredible Tretchikoff. Art / Books. ISBN 978-1-908970-08-4. 
  2. ^ "Tretchikoff's Chinese Girl Unveiled at Delaire Graff Estate". Graff Diamonds press release, 29 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Face to face with the woman who is Tretchi's Chinese Girl". Mail & Guardian, 20 May 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 

External links[edit]