Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II was presented with a portrait from German President Joachim Gauck during her state visit to Germany. On being presented with the painting by German artist Nicole Leidenfrost at the president’s official residence in Berlin, the Queen was heard to ask:
“Is that meant to be my father?”
“Don’t you recognize him?” Gauck enquired
“No,” said the 89 year-old monarch.
The queen was seen to look back and forth from the painting to Mr Gauck. She then laughed and asked.
“Have you seen the photo?” her majesty was heard asking the German President as she walked away.
The work was painted from this childhood photograph of the princess taken in 1935, on a horse lead by the reigns by her father King George VI. The painting with a blue horse and the young princess rendered in bright pink, and her father, the King, wearing a bright yellow riding jacket is “Impressionist-inspired”.
It has been questioned that two of the most successful living painters on earth, Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer, are German, so why would this artist be chosen? –but to be fair, their interpretations might have been even LESS admired by the Queen. The snarky British press have had a field day with this story making fun but in an interview with Monopolo Magazin, the artist said she is not taking the mockery to heart;
“I’ve seen it, but i’m very relaxed about it. A lot of great artists, which cost millions today, were once attacked by the press—so I’m on the right track.”
Leidenfrost also added that the color she had chosen for the horse in her painting was a reference to the early 20th century German art group, The Blue Rider, which I suppose better that a Nazi reference.
Both the artist and the Queen have every right to stand their own ground. The painting is the painting, but the subject of it is now 89 years old, and given that it contains a representation of a king, who happens to be her father and she let her appreciation or lack thereof, be noted. The artist wasn’t present so, she was personally insulted but, if you take into consideration, it was an official presentation and that the British are notoriously polite, I feel you can take from the exchange that it’s safe to say that the longest reigning monarch on the British throne ever REALLY hated it.
So, it’s pretty safe to say this Queen would also HATE my portrait of her, as well. During her 60th Jubilee in 2012, I had an exhibit of my work with Jonathan Adler called Pop Queen and I created a portrait just for the occasion. The work, Brenda, based on a somewhat impressionist vintage paint by number from 1952 of the young Queen. Btw, this is the holy grail in the PBN collecting world and I’ve never even SEEN one. I once bid up to $5000 online for one while being filmed for a documentary, but I ultimately lost out. My work contains letters spelling out her given nickname. In the 70s, Private Eye magazine printed a story revealing the royals implausible made-up monikers, the Queen being BRENDA. Needless to say, I feel HRH QE2 might hate B–R–E–N–D–A very M–U–C–H. For the record, I am of German, English and Irish descent.