A Katharine Hepburn painting of her longtime secretary Phyllis Wilbourn which hung in her home

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Lot 234
A Katharine Hepburn painting of her longtime secretary Phyllis Wilbourn which hung in her home

Sold for US$ 15,075 inc. premium
The Golden Age of Hollywood
A Katharine Hepburn painting of her longtime secretary Phyllis Wilbourn which hung in her home
Oil on canvas, framed. It is a testament to her affection for Phyllis Wilbourn that Katharine Hepburn not only created this beautiful portrait, but kept it in her kitchen, a place where she spent a lot of time and where guests naturally gathered. Wilbourn was, in Hepburn's words, "my right hand" for over forty years. She was known as Hepburn's lady-in-waiting because, as she herself declared when asked what her job was, "I wait." She seems to be doing exactly that in this painting. Hepburn met Wilbourn when she received coaching from actress Constance Collier, for whom Wilbourn had worked. According to Hepburn's goddaughter, Valentina Fratti, "Phyllis was calm and never fazed by the tumult on 49th street, in Fenwick, or anywhere else. She would sit quietly and without knowing it, make the most astute comments in her gentle British accent." Hepburn called her "a selfless person working for a totally selfish person ... an angel." Accompanied by the book, The Private World of Katharine Hepburn by John Bryson (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1990) which features a photograph of Hepburn with the painting.
Provenance: the collection of Valentina Fratti.
Overall: 24.25 x 28.5 in.; within frame: 19.5 x 23.5 in.
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A Katharine Hepburn painting of her longtime secretary Phyllis Wilbourn which hung in her home
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