Inspired by a young woman working at her uncle’s laundromat in Cape Town during the 1950s, the original ‘Chinese Girl’ by Vladimir Tretchikoff is acknowledged to be among the world’s most reproduced and recognisable artworks.
She appeared everywhere from suburban living rooms to blockbuster films with millions of people across the world having bought prints from Woolworths following her unveiling resulting in one of the most iconic images of the twentieth-century.
“For the ordinary workers or the middle class, she was mysteriously reassuring. In the past, along with photos of the people you love, you’d have images that interest and reassure you. And ‘The Green Lady’ is nothing, if not that.” – William Feaver, former chief art critic at the UK Observer.
The original painting was bought directly from the artist by the teenage daughter of an American businessman during Tretchikoff’s visit to Chicago during his 1954 USA tour. It is here that she remained until a 2013 auction at Bonhams, London, where owner of Delaire Graff Estate, Laurence Graff, acquired it for his impressive collection.
Frequently named as one of the world’s top art collectors, Mr Graff said of the new addition to his portfolio, “As a young man, I noticed the image of Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl continuously displayed in many different locations in print form. It was the first piece of art that made an impact on me, and I believe ignited my interest and passion for art. You can imagine my surprise to have learned of the sale of the original painting and, of course, my decision to buy it was immediate.”
Now housed at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch, this iconic piece of South African heritage has returned to her home country and continues to astound visitors of the Estate.