America's Queen of Opera Artist: Malcolm Morley (British, 1931–2018)


Modern and Contemporary Art

Not on view

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.



Oil on canvas


60 × 48 1/4 in. (152.4 × 122.56 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Gilbert H. Kinney, B.A. 1953, M.A. 1954

Accession Number



20th century


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 records is ongoing.

  • 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
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type



opera queens

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