Colette Calascione’s surreal, seductive beauties

Two-Faced Portrait (1996) © Colette Calascione

The women of NY-based painter Colette Calascione‘s world are the most luscious and enigmatic lot you’re likely to encounter in modern classical painting. Inspired by Victorian portraiture and Surrealism, Calascione is gifted with an Old Master’s hand for technique, a fevered imagination, a wicked sense of humor and a reverence for the feminine form rivaling that of Vargas himself. The resulting work is whimsical, provocative and elegant in turns. Demure masked nudes entice viewers with smoldering eye contact and slight, come-hither smiles. Grand dames of the parlour consort with beastly Ernstian suitors. The rosy aura of myth and allegory that surrounds these ladies is a fetching as their silken lingerie… maybe more so.

Scrupulous attention is paid to everything, and the color and contrast she imbues in each form — powdery decolletage, folds of drapery, the riotously rococo backgrounds — is exceptional.

Truly, Calascione knows that Goddess is in the details.

Illumination (2003)

More images and links under the cut.

detail from Coincidental Gathering (2003/2004)

Cat Mask (2003)

Milky Way (1998)

Swimmer (1998)

Cockfight (2004)

Internal Landscapes (2003)

Tickle (2000)

detail from Monkey Love (2004)

All images © Colette Calascione.

7 Responses to “Colette Calascione’s surreal, seductive beauties”

  1. Ashbet Says:


    I am in LOVE. I wish she sold prints!!

    — A :D

  2. Dahl Says:

    Those paintings are so wonderfully, subtly bizarre, I love them! There are so many details it takes a while to notice.

  3. gooby Says:

    There’s so much of this happening right now, its such a beautiful scene! i saw that Kirsten Anderson is already coining the term “Pop Baroque” for these new masters-

    So many amazing painters popping up in this genre, ALSO usually introduced to me by Meredith, and so many of them seem to be popping out of New York too?

    What’s the scoop?

  4. Swimmer at 54monkeys studio Says:

    […] You should go see the rest of her work and hope that she decides to do another show soon. Thanks to Meredith at Coilhouse! […]

  5. Nadya Says:

    I love that detail from Monkey Love! Milky Way, LOL. They’re all so opulent!

  6. Molly Crabapple Says:

    I love her work so much!

  7. Glossolalia Black Says:

    Wonderful. I love the double-faced women the best.

    Oh, and the cherub pissing on the cat is pretty sweet, too.