Elizabeth Peyton - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Phillips
  • “There is no separation for me between people I know through their music or photos and someone I know personally. The way I perceive them is very similar, in that there's no difference between certain qualities that I find inspiring in them.”
    —Elizabeth Peyton

    Elizabeth Peyton first became aware of Elliott Smith following the 1997 Academy Awards, when the independent singer-songwriter performed his Best Original Song-nominated track Miss Misery, from the film Good Will Hunting. “There in the midst of all the usual Oscar goofiness and shiny Hollywood splendor was Elliott, who looked alarmingly like a real person in this setting. He dressed up in a white suit and he wasn’t pretty in an obvious way but then his eyes were too blue and he began to sing. His voice was quiet and tender and beautiful and true and so vulnerable,” Peyton recalled to Artform.i The simplicity and understated nature of this performance, to Peyton, stood in complete opposition to the type of culture typically lauded at such an award show.


    Printed in 1999, the lithograph Elliott represents Smith in a transformative period, when the quiet and unflashy musician had to reckon with his bout of mainstream success. The result is an image that subtly reflects the introverted and angsty temperament that the late musician has come to exemplify within the alternative musical canon. Sat plainly on a folding chair, Peyton depicts Smith’s notorious shyness, the singer, dressed in a blue t-shirt, nearly blending into his pale blue backdrop. Details of black stand starkly in contrast to this blue delicateness: his box-dyed hair falling into his face, a thick bracelet on his strumming hand, moodily dark jeans, and the pickguard of his signature guitar. This pared-down palette recalls the color of Smith’s eyes that struck Peyton during his Oscars performance and mirrors the beautiful simplicity of Smith’s melancholic songwriting and performance style, which Peyton so greatly admired.



    i Elizabeth Peyton, “Elizabeth Peyton: Top Ten,” Artforum, vol. 37, no. 7, March 1999.

    • Literature

      Ars Publicata, Elizabeth Peyton, 1999.01



Lithograph in colors, on Somerset Satin paper, with full margins.
I. 13 1/2 x 9 7/8 in. (34.3 x 25.1 cm)
S. 18 x 13 1/2 in. (45.7 x 34.3 cm)

Signed, dated and numbered 68/80 in blue pencil (there were also 20 artist's proofs), co-published by Derriere L'Etoile Studios and Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York, framed.

Full Cataloguing

$800 - 1,200 

Sold for $3,302

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