The other one

francoise 2

Rainy Day

I can’t get over how there’s a Vladimir Tretchikoff painting that I recently saw for the first time that I really really like.

I saw this little postcard-size print at a hotel gift-shop and wondered why a painting of Françoise Hardy was being sold as a post card. On closer examination I saw it was a Tretchikoff, titled ‘Rainy Day’. I liked it and was amazed at the subject’s resemblance to the French singer.

Then popping in at Delaire-Graff recently, as one does, I finally got to see the Chinese Lady on display, in the flesh so to speak; remember I wrote about it here.  It looks just like the millions of prints (haha) and it’s behind glass and a frame I don’t like. It’s not awesome.

Anyway, there’s a book on the artist and his life for sale; it was a tad pricey so I just flipped through it and guess what I found? The story behind the Françoise Hardy painting.

Because it is her, after all.

When she toured South Africa in 1968 she agreed to pose for him. From his website: “.. he realised that she was just the right model to pose for the subject he had long wanted to paint. Of this canvas the artist says: “It was inspired by the knowledge that there is a rainy day in every young girl’s life, a day when she feels insecure, imprisoned within herself, and the world seems wet and bleak.”

Maybe he saw something – she went on to become extremely ill as a result of anorexia for a number of years but seems to have recovered now.

So, this kitsch artist I’ve always mocked and loathed once painted my namesake, one of our most loved French singers, and one to whom I owe thanks for helping me get my name (sometimes) recognised in this country all those years here with a foreign name.

Are these two paintings a contrast, or what? Which would you want on your wall?

Chinese Girl1

The Chinese Lady displayed in all her glory in the foyer of Delaire-Graff.
There’s a wine tasting lounge very close by where you can erase this picture from your mind if you so desire.

Art galleries


I find art galleries a bit intimidating because I have plebeian tastes and no money. Unlike my friend Caroline, who also has no money but knows art and has no fear of playing the serious buyer (together, we’ve pretended to be serious buyers of all sorts of things from precious art to luxury homes, but that’s another story).

Recently the painting above caught my client’s eye. I screeched to a stop on the main drag in Franschhoek and the haggling began.  I suggested the gallery pass my commission on to the client (I’m nice that way) but the snooty gallery assistant with a fake poncy accent was having none of that because apparently I need to register with the gallery in advance, which I hadn’t done since I don’t generally plan on shopping with clients. Regardless of my client’s obvious wealth, the snooty one managed to talk down to everyone as if we were a bunch of bergies asking for a hand-out. He was eating cold pizza but the gallery is just opposite a restaurant that’s just  been voted the best in Africa. Just saying.

Once my client had concluded the deal (R36k including shipping) we were then told to stop trying to take photos of the painting. My client pointed out that the painting was now HERS and she could do what she wanted with it. While they were arguing I took the photo – cell phones are sneakier than fancy cameras with foot-long lenses.

My client then tasked me with ensuring the painting arrives in New York. Yikes. I did and it did.

The photo below, however, is of a pencil drawing I fell in love with at an art exhibition, also in Franschhoek, at the lovely Grande Provence Estate. Weeks later I was in Stellenbosch and spotted the gallery where this artist’s work is displayed. My heart stopped and I entered. This time it was a vastly different experience. The artist’s son, whose lovely jewellery is also displayed there, was manning the gallery and a nicer man you couldn’t hope to meet.  I didn’t get his name, shame on me; there was a time I would have got his phone number, too.

The artist is Greg Lourens and you can see his work here.

This one sells for a bit more than the top one but they have prints of the art, so I bought one for a whole R30.


Disclaimer: my photo of the above pencil drawing has too many reflections to do it justice so I’ve used this one from the website.


A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 83 other followers


my new life in france

The Best Ticher

EFL advice, tricks and tips for newbie teachers...

Morsels of Gratitude

Trying to find the positive in a world where negative has become too comfortable

Tales from the African Bush

Brian Connell - Author News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

Trekking Across Gondwanaland

My long journey to Australia and back

A pic a day from the Cape

Snippets of my life, my city, and beyond