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A Painter’s Social Network, Traced in Her Photographs

Elizabeth Peyton’s endearing, jewel-like portraits are frequently, and transparently, based on photographic ephemera: newspaper images, film stills, vintage black-and-white prints. Her own snapshots, taken over the last two decades with 35-millimeter, Polaroid and, most recently, digital cameras, are an important but rarely acknowledged source.

Some 50 photographs by Ms. Peyton are now on view here at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in “Elizabeth Peyton: Portrait of an Artist.” Ms. Peyton, born in Danbury, Conn., is the recipient of the 2006 Larry Aldrich Award (honoring an artist who has had “a significant impact on visual culture”). Some might say that her paintings of friends, lovers and famous faces reflect rather than influence that culture; they are steeped in the elixirs of youth, beauty and celebrity infatuation...

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