If anyone knows who Tah Tsee Yo was, I’d really like to know. As the subject of this magnificent Bert Phillips portrait, he exudes an introspective majesty. And I’d like to know more about the black eagle feather bonnet Tah Tsee Yo wears. You can see how much Phillips put into this, in the dark background you might see in Rembrandt and the soft light that washes gently over Tah Tsee Yo. Employing sfumato, the blurring technique that Da Vinci and other Italian painters perfected, the soft sculpted roundness of his back, shoulders, cheeks, and jawline breaks out of the picture plane. Tah Tsee Yo’s eyes and mouth betray nothing–and everything. What he thinks, whether he is about to smile or frown, Phillips keeps these at arm’s length. So your eyes move, take in the bonnet, the tufts at the ends of the feathers seem as if they are pasted on, as if you could touch them. Whoever Tah Tsee Yo was, whatever his inner life was like, Phillips presents and preserves the mystery in skillful and tantalizing way.
Minor inpainting of craquelure. Appears to be original canvas with stretcher stripes attached.
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