An early watercolour sketch of this painting includes Lenkiewicz’s design notes. These explain the method of construction of the perspective and use of the Golden Section (a mathematical ratio said to give aesthetically pleasing and harmonious qualities to pictures and architecture) in the painting and show that Lenkiewicz had meant to place the three chairs in the picture in an unbroken line, a reference to Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1923). The leftmost seated figure, originally a rear view, was later moved in the composition (using a new sitter) to break the perspective to achieve visual drama.
Like Duchamp’s work, this painting was long in the making – the sitter, Celia ‘Mouse’ Mills, Robert’s first wife, has said that she made countless sittings for it over a six year period. Lenkiewicz viewed it as ‘a significant turning point piece’.
Note: Listed as No. 41 Woman in blue with wool in the 1980 retrospective list.
This painting is in the collection of The Lenkiewicz Foundation.