MT: oil on canvas on board within chestnut frame (76x61 / F:95x80x3)
TX: signed by brush at upper left of picture in English <manlio / 1953>, printed on sticker mounted at rear center in French <Ce tableaux peint à huile / "RITTRATO DI F. RICH" / est l' oeuvre du peintre italien / MANLIO Guberti-Helfrich / 19, Via D'Azeglio, RAVENNA, Italie>
CM: In the early 1950s Manlio Guberti-Helfrich spent some time in the mythical Far West of the United States, painting pictures of the desert that mesmerized him. There, in the middle of nowhere really, at a guest ranch called "Hacienda Del Sol" in Tuscon, Arizona, where notables from Hollywood sought refuge from their day jobs and secreted away, he met Katherine Hepburn (1907-2003) and her companion, Spencer Tracy (1900-1967). Becoming a passionate collector of Guberti-Helfrich's work, Hepburn introduced Rich to him. Their relationship culminated in the present portrait of her by Guberti-Helfrich. Rich appears standing in three-quarters view with her head turning directly towards the viewer. The background is enigmatic, a dark curtain revealing on the right a bird's-eye view of the desert. The great expanse of land is accentuated by successive layers of atmospheric perspective. Her frozen face with its liquid eyes and the right hand brought on her chest express her feeling of awe at such glorious site of nature. The composition is harmoniously divided vertically in one side that is dark warm and another that is bright cold. The Portrait of Frances Rich shares the metaphysical manner of Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978) and the realism of Edward Hopper (1882-1967), as reworked through Guberti-Helfrich's original and personal filter.
[Megakles Rogakos 01/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Frances Rich - La Gazelle 2010 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens