Every Nicole Eisenman Picture Tells a Story

Nicole Eisenman (SHS 1983), whose paintings and sculptures often show people—with cartoonish distortions of their hands, feet, and noses—trying to make the best of tragicomic circumstances, grew up in a house on a quiet street in Scarsdale, New York. A gate in the back yard opened onto the playing field of the elementary school where she was once a student; she could wait at home in the morning until the bell rang, and then run, and not be late.

One day last July, Eisenman was standing at that garden gate. She had driven from Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, where, in a studio close to her apartment, she was working on three large paintings, each of which included at least one vulnerable-looking figure making awkward, and to some degree ridiculous, progress under skies filled with clouds. Eisenman had painted a bicycle accident; a procession involving someone atop a giant potato; and a man on a zigzagging path blocked by Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs.

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