The Rose 1958-1966
oil on canvas with wood and mica
128 3/4 x 92 1/4 inches
Jay Defeo’s The Rose weighs more than 3,000 pounds, is 11 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 11 inches deep at some points. For eight years, every single day Defeo did nothing else but work on this painting while drinking brandy and smoking cigarettes. It became the center of her world, a complete obsession. It’s a fascinating story that also sparked a short film, The White Rose made by Bruce Conner, that chronicles the spectacle of trying to get the gigantic painting out of her apartment. It’s now owned by the Whitney Museum of American Art but hasn’t been on display in years due to all the restorative work it needs.
“Through care, create care. You must always feed obsession.”- Betsy Schneider