Bishop's Painting of "Sha-Sha"

From Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive by Bethany Hicok

  • A painting of a white woman with blonde hair and red lips wearing a white, blue, and yellow striped shirt and blue bottoms (either pants or a skirt). Though no chair is visible, the woman appears seated in front of wainscot paneling. Green molding appears behind her head, with a grey wall and three framed images above her. Above the three rectangular frames, more green molding runs along the top of the composition.
  • Poetry
  • Literary Criticism
  • 1937-02-25
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  • Bishop painted this portrait of her friend “Sha-Sha,” Charlotte Russell, in Naples, Florida, three years before she first traveled to Brevard with her. Bishop’s composition poses many intriguing questions, from the odd equation (“1 + 4 = 7”) to the contrast between Charlotte’s impressionistic face and the detailed patterns of her shirt and the wood paneling in the background. (Courtesy of Vassar College)