Elizabeth Peyton (born 1965) is an American painter who rose to popularity in the mid 1990s. She is a contemporary artist best known for stylized and idealized portraits of her close friends, pop celebrities, and European monarchy.
Elizabeth Peyton, the artist known for tiny, dazzling portraits of radiant youth, is now painting tiny, dazzling portraits of radiant middle age. The change is so subtle you can miss it, and it’s not even in all her new pictures, some of which just seem pretty–although one should never bemoan such a delicate touch and honed sense of too-muchness. Yet Peyton’s lavender, lilac, and crimson love letters to the age of innocence are finally reflecting the age of experience. Her deft brushwork and starry-eyed doting are still in evidence, but her color has darkened and her gaze is less moony. Several of her subjects look world-weary, like they’re living life, not just being fabulous.
Her work is characterized by elongated, slender figures with androgynous features which at times resemble fashion illustration. The artist, interviewed in the catalogue for the exhibition “The Painter of Modern Life” at the Hayward gallery in London in 2007, has indeed acknowledged the importance of photography as an inspiration source to her art. Her work is most often executed in oil paint, applied with washy glazes that are sometimes allowed or encouraged to drip. Several other works in color pencil have also found notoriety and recent work has included etchings. The idealization and stylization of known celebrities has led some critics to characterize her work as derivative of or in the tradition of Andy Warhol with a Romantic overtone. The artist has cited influence by David Hockney.