Philip Pearlstein, Two Models in a Window with Cast Iron Toys, 1987
In Pearlstein’s paintings, the human body, placed in a corner of a floodlighted studio, assumes a new range of plastic realities, as the mass and weight of the body are emphasized in the unstudied character of the pose. The point of view frequently results in radical cropping of the figure at the edge of the canvas. The painting Models With Mirror is an example of Pearlstein’s concern for the body as form.
Pearlstein was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and received his Masters in art history at New York University. He was a friend of Andy Warhol from college and he accompanied Warhol to Manhattan from Pittsburgh in 1949. Warhol and Pearlstein subleased an eighth-floor walkup tenement apartment on St. Mark’s Place (and Avenue A) for the summer. According to Pearlstein, “The bathtub was in the kitchen and it was usually full of roaches, incredible roaches.” When they moved a few months later to the large front room of dancer Francesca Boas’s loft on West 23rd Street, Warhol sent out address change cards in small envelopes filled with glitter announcing: “I’ve moved from one roach-ridden apartment to another.”