This piece is of one of John Kelly's long time models, Amina Santana, and was inspired by John Singer Sargent's formal portraits done in the late 19th century. The traditional pose and striking scarlet dress contrasts with the rendering of the skull, commenting on the preciousness of youth and beauty and the impossibility of death. Soft, delicate rendering of Amina's face and hands, and great attention paid to the painterly drapery of her dress and the gold cloth.

- John Kelly

Woman with Skull

Oil painting on stretched canvas
Finished black edges
Ready to hang

Signed on back

40" h x 30" w x 1.5" d
5 lbs. 0 oz.



John Kelly
Paris, France

Getting to Know John

John was born in Paris and grew up in New York. He attended the School of Visual Arts in the 1980s and participated in the East Village art scene at the time, showing at 301 Houston Street Gallery and Ground Zero Gallery. His work was mainly influenced by the Abstract Expressionists and the German Expressionists, but that changed when he saw a Balthus retrospective at the Met in 1983. His work became figurative, and has remained so ever since. Today, he works with several models, and they’ve become active collaborators in his art. “Allowing them to be creative helps me,” he says. John’s paintings live between the realms of classicism and modernity. He painstakingly renders his models with the precision traditionally reserved for the world’s wealthy and powerful, but his subjects are like you and me. As viewers, we see intimate moments of self-reflection and vulnerability. The figures are so close to the surface, it feels like you are part of the incredibly charged scene.