Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Victory Kisses in Times Square, an homage to Alfred Eisenstaedt

16 x 8", acrylic on gessoed mounted aluminum panel
Painting #270, 2019

This is my third painting of what is turning so far into a mini Hershey's Kisses series. These larger chocolate Kisses are seasonal and are only available from Christmas through Valentine's Day. For my third instalment, I chose the iconic photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt while on assignment for Life magazine. The picture entitled VJ Day in Times Square, VJ Day or The Kiss was taken on August 14, 1945, at the announcement of the end of the war with Japan. 

The persons who were later identified in the photograph are Navy sailor George Mendonsa  (b. 1923) and dental hygienist Greta Zimmer Friedman (b. 1924- d. 2016). Many articles were published from the point of view of the photographer and both parties involved who did not know each other when the photo was taken. The spontaneous kiss was explained by George Mendonsa as a general thank you to all nurses for their indispensable service during war time.   

That afternoon, George Mendonsa was coming out of Radio City Music Hall with his girlfriend Rita, when victory over Japan was announced. In the photograph, Rita can be seen peeking over his right upper arm. In 2018, George and Rita had been married for 71 years.

I used a Special Edition of Life Magazine, Fall 1990, acquired on eBay as the photo study for the painting. It is one of the magazine's most famous pictures in print. Rita is circled in red. 

Update-February 18, 2019 - It was announced today that George Mendosa died yesterday at an assisted living facility in Middleton, R.I. He would have turned 96 tomorrow. Rest in peace Mr. Mendosa. Condolences to his wife, family & friends.  

To acquire this painting, please contact: 

Galerie de Bellefeuille
1367 avenue Greene, 
Montreal, Quebec H3Z 2A8 Tel: 514.933.4406
e-mail- art@debellefeuille.com