Clearly a lurid palette helps you live longer. The artist adored by 1970s households and kitsch revivalists died on 26th August. In his prime, the painter of that curiously green Chinese Girl was the wealthiest artist in the world after Picasso — despite being at the opposite end of the market.
His garish colours matched exactly the fixtures and fittings of the average 1970s household (avocado bath tubs anyone?) but Tretchikoff defended his somewhat startling representations of women saying,
If I wanted to convey ideas through my paintings, why should I obscure the subject?
During the revival in interest in his work in the 1990s, Tretchikoff maintained his poise as a serious painter and refused to allow one of his paintings to adorn the cover of a book on kitsch. His work, he maintained, was symbolic realism. His adopted homeland of South Africa begged to differ. The National Gallery in Cape Town has never deigned to purchase an original Tretchikoff on the grounds that “he is not really regarded as a South African artist”.