Sunday, October 30, 2005




For those of you wondering who the rather cross-looking "blue lady" is in the top right hand corner of the screen, then all is revealed. She is a painting of "Chinese Girl" by the Russian artist Vladimir Griegorovich Tretchikoff. See http://www.tretchikoff.co.uk/ for more info. Chinese Girl is almost certainly his most well-known picture. It's the Mona Lisa of the twentieth century and by far Tretchikoff's most famous work.

There is something spooky and mythical about Chinese Girl. It adorned thousands of living rooms in the 1970s. Someone told me once that there was an urban myth about the picture. Apparently it was cursed and it caused people's houses to burn down (with the picture remaining unscathed). However, a bit of internet searching reveals that the picture in question was proabably one of the equally infamous "Crying Boy" pictures by Bragolin. The picture itself was a portrait painted by a Spanish artist of an orphan. It is said that his studio burnt to the ground, and the boy was later killed in a car crash. About 40-50 cases were recorded in which a house fire had destroyed everything except for the picture. It became known as the "Curse of the Crying Boy", and even made headline news at one point.

I think that what was probably more the case, was that the sorts of people who bought these pictures, were probably also smokers with polyester bed-sheets...
Although here, it's claimed that the whole thing was made up by The Sun newspaper.

But then again, maybe there is something in it. Here's an essay by Uri Geller (of all people) on the picture. He calls her the green lady, but I've always thought she was more blue than green.

Now, poor Chinese Girl is mainly found at the back of old charity shops. I rescued one a few years ago and she had pride of place in one of the rooms I rarely went into. Fortunately, we never had a house fire. But I think that the Curse of the Blue Lady would make a wonderful kitch horror film.

4 comments:

matty said...

I've always wondered regarding the origins of that little picture. Funny thing is I saw a girl on MUNI today who looked just like her except she was in track suit and sprawled across two seats. ...then an old woman asked her to move her feet so she could sit down. The track suit girl refused, the old woman told her off, but the girl remained unphased.

...made me think of Catherine Tate. I kept waiting for her to look at the old woman and say, "Am I bothered? But am I bothered, tho? Are you disrespecting me? Are you disrespecting my family?" LOL!

I gave my seat to the old lady. ...and then started to sit on the girl's legs. ...she moved. LOL!

But she looked just like the cursed picture!!!!

david said...

i have this picture in my house. my mum gave me the one that hung in our sitting room in the 70's. she also gave me the coloured-glass fish that was on top of our telly.

david said...

that was me above.
dave 'spellcnut' london calling.

Reluctant Nomad said...

I often see old Tretchikoff trundling around my local Pick n Pay (South Africa's answer to Tesco) with a shopping trolley. For someone who made so much money from his 'art', he looks like a sour old puss. He's lived in Cape Town for many many years now.