My favorite painting in the entire world is Woman Descending the Staircase by Gerhard Richter.
The woman in this painting DGAF about anything. Her shiny dress is like armor. Her face is a mask. She’s older, she’s ghostlike, and her posture tells you that she is absolutely confident about everything in life.
I love it. I have this image up in my office.
I don’t have dreams of being glamorous, but whenever I think about how I want to present myself on stage, I think of this nameless woman. I like being smiley and approachable, but I want to be less girlish. There’s nothing girlish about this woman.
I also love how Gerhard Richter paints in these silver-blue and metallic hues. At first glance, Woman Descending the Staircase looks like a chrome photograph that’s been photoshopped to look blurry. It’s not. His photo-paintings are quite famous. Now that you’ve seen this one, you’ll spot his work in modern art museums all over the world.
But if you ever have a chance to see this particular painting, do it. It was on display at the Art Institute Chicago for many years. Now it’s in a traveling roadshow of some kind.
(I’m bummed because it was a favorite of mine in their modern wing.)
I’ll probably never have the poise or the posture of this woman, but I want her calm demeanor and steely spine. That’s why this is my favorite painting in the world.