Jay DeFeo - The Rose (1958-69)

"The story of Jay DeFeo and The Rose is both a cautionary tale of obsession and an inspiring tale of determination and belief. She began working on The Rose in 1958. She was 29 years old and for the next eight years, she did little else but sit on a stool in her studio, smoking cigarettes, drinking brandy while she painted and scraped away at her vision.

First titled The Deathrose, then The White Rose and finally just The Rose, DeFeo only stopped working on the painting when an increase in rent forced her from her studio. By then it was 1966, her marriage was ending, she was in fragile physical and mental health, and The Rose had become too large to fit out the door. 

At nearly 12 feet high and in places eight inches thick, The Rose was constructed from layer upon layer of built up and scraped away black and white paint. DeFeo added mica chips to the paint and so The Rose has its own interior light.”

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