Modern and Contemporary Art
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Full-size image not available for download. Please contact Rights and Reproductions.
Artist: Malcolm Morley, British, 1931–2018

America’s Queen of Opera


Oil on canvas

152.4 × 122.56 cm (60 × 48 1/4 in.)
Gift of Gilbert H. Kinney, B.A. 1953, M.A. 1954

From the exhibition Still Life: 1970s Photorealism:

Malcolm Morley is often considered the first artist to have worked in a Photorealist style. As early as 1965, he made an unexpectedly realistic painting of a postcard, and throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s his paintings were based on printed photographic images. He rendered some of these with illusionistic detail, creating works that could trick the viewer’s eye. In others, such as America’s Queen of Opera, based on a Time magazine cover story about the opera singer Beverly Sills, Morley lets viewers see how he made photographic images into paintings: by overlaying the photograph with a grid and then transferring the image to the canvas, square by square. This work both illustrates the transformation of a popular image into a painting and breaks down photographic illusion.


Not on view
20th century

Robert Storr, Malcolm Morley in a Nutshell: The Fine Art of Painting 1954 – 2012, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University School of Art, 2012), 47, fig. 3.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.