Friday, May 22, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ Philip Pearlstein

Philip Pearlstein is an American painter, born
on 24 May 1924 in Pittsburgh, PA. He's known best for reinventing figure painting, a definite diversion at a time when Abstract Expressionism was the
"in thing".

Instead of writing more, or snipping sections from online pieces, I can do no better than post the following 10 minute YouTube video about Philip Pearlstein and his work. It tells us most of what we really need to know, in a nutshell, and offers a look at some of his paintings. Lots more of his work can be seen via Google Image.

His natal chart, set for 12 noon as no birth time is available.
Born on 24 May 1924 in Pittsburgh, PA

This is a chart where time of birth would be especially helpful. Rising sign and exact position of Moon can't be pinpointed.

Sun in Airy Gemini seems to be without aspect according to what there is to work with, but it does blend, broadly, with Moon which is likely to be somewhere in Aquarius - another Air sign. A Gemini/Aquarius blend signifies a mentally oriented personality, likely to be versatile and fluently communicative.

Venus, planet of the arts is conjunct Pluto in Cancer and sextile Mercury in Taurus, also forming part of a Yod with its apex at Jupiter in Sagittarius (see left). Jupiter also sextiles Mars in Aquarius and forms another Yod with apex at the Venus/Pluto conjunction (left below). So, Jupiter, in its sign of rulership, Sagittarius, is fairly significantly highlighted, but I can't link it especially to the artist's major choice of subject matter: the naked body. Perhaps that choice relates to the Venus conjunction with Pluto? Though I don't see his paintings (at least as far as they appear on a computer screen) as erotic - that would be a Pluto "influence". They seem, to me, to be too matter of fact to be intentionally erotic.

Natal Moon, if in late-ish Aquarius, could make a semi-sextile aspect to Aquarius' modern ruler, Uranus in Pisces, indicating a rather unusual set of sensitivities.

Finally, just one of his many paintings - I especially like those which include some choice objects along with the body, as in this case.

Hat-tip HERE

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mike said...

I like his art and, like you, enjoy the ones adorned with additional stray objects. Some of his pieces have an odd, mutated, 3D flatness, which is slightly disorienting, but adds an interesting feel.

He and Andy Warhol were roomies for several years and apparently good friends, which seems an odd match. Pearlstein's "Superman" and other works may have influenced Warhol (

His Venus is a "night" Venus, setting after the Sun, with a 39* separation (48* is maximum separation), and is considered a more subjective and sensual position for Venus. The two yods you indicate may be reflective of this excerpt from the above link:
"And yet the body in Mr. Pearlstein’s pictures — usually young, healthy and female — could not be completely neutralized. Tension between clinical objectivity and psychosexual intrigue gives the pictures a weird undercurrent, as if the painter were wrestling with his desires and almost but not quite overcoming them."

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, he does seem like a more conventional character than Warhol. I suppose it could be said that he painted the human body in the same detached way that Warhol painted a can of Campbell's soup - devoid of its purpose - kind of. :-/

Those Yods are an interesting pair - but I can't quite get their significance. Maybe it IS the "undercurrent" mentioned in the piece you link. Though personally, I don't "feel" there's any any undercurrent - maybe it's there when one is actually standing in front of the paintings.