Gilbert Lewis, Untitled (c. 1982)
Eric Rymshaw, the artist’s former lover and longtime friend, described the evening in which this portrait of a drag queen was made:
Gilbert painted this while we lived together. Sometimes [his] model would join us for dinner. This was one of the people I cooked for, and I watched him get ready for this portrait. I had no idea—I was very young and very naïve at the time. I was astounded by the transformation. In the 1970s, there was a serious drag scene in Philadelphia, made famous by the Vanguard Vanities. The Vanguard motorcycle club would do a drag musical every two years at the Mask and Wig Club. This guy was totally into it, and it was great fun to watch him transform himself over dinner before he posed for Gilbert.