MoMA
Luc Tuymans. The Secretary of State. 2005
Luc Tuymans

The Secretary of State

2005
Not on view
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
18 x 24 3/8" (45.7 x 61.9 cm)
Credit
Fractional and promised gift of David and Monica Zwirner
Object number
216.2006
Copyright
© 2015 Luc Tuymans

In 2005 Condoleezza Rice left her position as national security advisor to replace Colin Powell as United States secretary of state. That same year, for the second time, Forbes magazine ranked her the most powerful woman in the world. In this painting Rice's likeness is heavily cropped and faded in color, as if she has already been relegated to history, but her formidable presence is undiminished. The immediacy is further amplified by the close-up view, which at the same time proscribes intimacy, denies psychological insight, and holds back communication on issues of gender and race. Rice's averted eyes and focused grimace communicate nothing. In Tuymans’s painting this immensely powerful woman, appointed to negotiate controversial wars and world conflicts, remains a public figure—a media image.

Tuymans has often presented highly charged political subject matter. He has taken up historical episodes such as colonialism and the Holocaust, and prominent figures such as Patrice Lumumba (assassinated prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Nazi architect Albert Speer. Tuymans’s cool, detached treatment keeps horror outside the picture, but his paintings evoke deeply troubled histories. "Violence," the artist has said, "is the only structure underlying my work."

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 263
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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource