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June 20, 2014

Princess Gloria von Thurn Und Taxis Draws the Chelsea Hotel’s Greats

By Sasha Levine | Art

Princess Gloria.jpg
Photocourtesy of Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis

“It’s very important not to take oneself too seriously,” says Princess Gloria von Thurn Und Taxis just a few days after her art opening at the Chelsea Hotel Storefront Gallery.

Dubbed “Come on Darling, Don’t Be Mad,” the exhibit showcases her hand-drawn portraits of the famous faces that have come through the legendary Manhattan hotel. “It’s sort of making fun of myself,” she says of the show’s title. “If you are not really happy about your portrait, don’t worry—this is just the way I see you.”

Long a recreational drawer, Princess TNT of Germany (as she’s commonly known) received the commission for the series—her first ever—back in April. Since then, the autodidact has completed two or three faces a day in preparation. “I’m drawing a person while we speak,” she says during our chat by phone.

Rendered in pastels on 9-by-12-inch pieces of construction paper (“It reminds me of the way we used to draw as children,” she remarks), her depictions of icons like Jimi Hendrix (pictured above), Allen Ginsberg, Robert Mapplethorpe and Edie Sedgwick fall somewhere between the flatness of Alex Katz’s work and the exaggerated realism of a caricature. “My people look very friendly—they are not so mysterious, they are in your face,” she explains. “This is how I am, so I want my portraits to be that, too.”

She is known to patron the arts (works by Thomas Ruff, Anselm Kiefer and Paul McCarthy are all present in her homes), but this series marks her first foray into art as an artist—yet another path the punk-princess-cum-businesswoman-cum-devoted-Catholic has set upon since arriving on the scene in the 1980s in Germany as the young bride of Johannes, 11th Prince of Thurn and Taxis.

And while she hopes this is just the beginning of her commissioned pieces for public spaces, exactly where the portraits will end up once the show closes on July 25 is still up for debate. “Ideally I would like to see them in the hotel rooms, because that’s where they belong,” she says.

For now, however, she’s reveling in the triumph of her inaugural show—to which Jeffrey Deitch, Jeff Koons and Calvin Klein all showed up. “It was such a big success,” she says, “we’re thinking about a closing party, too!” Through June 25; 222 W. 23rd St.; e-mail hotelchelsea@nadinejohnson.com to make a viewing appointment; gloriasportrait.com.

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