The artist behind a painting of Bill Clinton in a blue dress and red heels said it was a “complete surprise” to learn that it ended up in Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion. Artist Petrina Ryan-Kleid said she painted it while a grad student at the New York Academy of Art in 2012 and it was sold at a school fundraiser. “I had no idea who the buyer was at the time. As with most of my paintings, I had completely lost track of this piece when it was sold seven years,” she said in a statement.
The painting has been identified as Parsing Bill by New York-based Australian artist Petrina Ryan-Kleid. (A print version is available on Saatchi Art starting at $40.)
The Clinton painting comes from a pair of works by Ryan-Kleid that lightly satirized political figures. Its companion, a painting of George W. Bush called War Games, features the former president sitting on the floor of the White House playing with paper airplanes and two fallen Jenga towers, referencing his manipulation of the attacks of 9/11 to justify war in Iraq, the defining scandal of Bush’s White House tenure.
Parsing Bill and War Games were shown at the 2012 Tribeca Ball, a fundraiser for Ryan-Kleid’s alma mater, the New York Academy of Art. Photos from A Guest of a Guest, a party blog, show the artist posing in front of the two works at the star-studded event.