Madame Defarge 2018
Gail Rothschild
acrylic on canvas, 40" x 60";  $7000
Exhibited at Village West in Ancien Régime: the pre-revolutionary world Fall 2018

"'Ancien Régime' immediately suggested to me the character of Madame Thérèse Defarge from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, who knits in code the names of the aristocracy doomed to the guillotine.

Steganography is the practice of hiding information in plain sight. I decided to make a new painting in the style of my "Fabrications" series - imagined knitted fields - that would reference Madame Defarge's Steganographic knitting with our current political disaster.

I then discussed my initial concept with the Latvian-born artist/mathematician, Daina Taimina who decided to use her actual needle and Russian language skills to create a parallel Madame Defarge piece (also featured in this exhibition).

She quickly knitted a letter "T" with all its possible meanings: Trust, Twitter, Treason, Truth and Trump. Into the T she knitted the Russian word наш which means "our." My painting spells out наш Дональд or "our Donald" in Russian.

The colors I am using deconstruct the Soviet flag with a field of red and single stitches of yellow sprinkled throughout, as Donald is quite fond of gold (sprinkled or otherwise)."

If you are interested in purchasing this work, please contact Gail Rothschild or visit


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