The Twitcher


Oil on canvas

200 × 119.8 cm (78 3/4 × 47 3/16 in.)

The woman, whose stature extends over the entire height of the painting against a neutral background, seems to have stopped in her tracks to turn towards you, as if a call had drawn her out of her thoughts and interrupted her steps. The viewer, struck by the painting, looks back at her.

This work, completed in one day, is one of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's “unique paintings.” Its composition is reminiscent of some great examples of the history of Western painting, in particular Claude Monet's Woman with a Parasol, known as The Promenade. Yiadom-Boakye seems to have inverted all the codes of this painting so as to better appropriate them: the white woman in vaporous, pastel-coloured clothes, wearing a dress, with a parasol and veil, is replaced by a young black woman, hands behind her back, wearing red trousers and bright green shoes. The artist thus defies the tradition of painted portraiture by depicting mostly black characters, which she thus inscribes, in a very political gesture, in the great tradition of art history. These characters are fictitious, they do not represent a model but take on the dimension of an archetypal figure, a new “canon.”

The Twitcher is presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection in the exhibition "Ouverture" at the Bourse de Commerce in 2021.