Mayakovsky in a Bulldozer in Vermeer's Little Street in Delft (Study)
Acrylic and oil on cardboard
19 x 26
48.3 x 66
Estate of Sally Belfrage
| Image Notes
Vermeer, The Little Street, c. 1658. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Rodchenko's photo portrait of Mayakovsky seated on a chair designed by Rodchenko, Moscow, 1924
Bulldozer: Vermeer Corporation (Earthmoving Equipment): www.vermeer.com. Photograph of the bulldozer by Mary Ellen Andrews.
| Artist's Notes
I had no time to really choose what I wanted to take to MacDowell (Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire) as art supplies, so I brought my oil paints and a handful of my favorite reproductions. Today I found out that it doesn't matter what I took. Any stationery store has watercolor brushes and some kind of rag paper… So I went to town and found everything I needed… I've been illustrating Mayakovsky's poetry. I am doing "Simple as Mooing" and "Cloud with Trousers." Naturally I am working on Vermeer ideas, and have made two rather remarkable Vermeer compositions.
One has Mayakovsky's portrait.
It's been going very well, but today it exploded. It came out of the handful of favorite reproductions. I always bring Mary Ellen (Andrews)'s photograph of the bulldozer. It is perfect and the textures are a joy to paint. I draw and paint it a lot. Last night I got the idea but today I rendered it. It's putting Mayakovsky in the bulldozer. Today it got a Vermeer added. Behind the bulldozer is Vermeer's Little Streetin Delft. It's a detail and there it is. (Unpublished notebook entry, July 1979).
Here enclosed I am sending you a black-and-white photo of Mayakovsky on a Bulldozer in Vermeer's Small Street in Delft...Also I am returning the post card of the Russian tractor. I used the image in a new red picture, with Millet's Gleaners up front on the open ground in front of the tractor, and Mayakovsky face on in an oval to the left. It's a companion picture to Mayakovsky on a Bulldozer. I'll send you a photo when I get the picture photographed. (George Deem, letter to Sally Belfrage, October 9, 1979)
Sally - Mayakovsky in a Bulldozer in Vermeer's Little Street in Delft, a drawing.Now sold. To you. (George Deem, letter to Sally Belfrage,January 20, 1980).
(Note: George Deem's original title for the painting "Mayakovsky on a Bulldozer" was changed by the artist to "Mayakovsky in a Bulldozer")