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Philip Pearlstein’s Portrait of Linda Nochlin and Richard Pommer

PHILIP PEARLSTEIN’S Portrait of Linda Nochlin and Richard Pommer ties together the personal and the intellectual strands of my life like no other work of art. It was commissioned in 1968, as a wedding portrait, and we are both wearing more or less the clothes we were married in: Dick, white linen trousers and a blue shirt; I, a white dress with a bold blue geometric pattern. We are represented sitting in Philip’s studio in Skowhegan, illuminated by the cold light of dentists’ lamps, sweating in the heat of a Maine summer, though this latter condition is not recorded.

The painting engages a long process of creation and an afterlife of experience. Temporality is necessarily involved in this process, whether in the seemingly endless and discomforting—at times even agonizing—sitting for the portrait, or, equally important, in living and aging with it after its completion. In the beginning we

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