Santa Rosa artist’s ongoing mission: Pursuit of a princess

Kristen Throop has devoted the past four years to reinterpreting a painting of a princess from the 19th century in various styles.|

Santa Rosa artist Kristen Throop wants people to do more than look at her art. She wants to people to think and talk about it, too.

Over the past four years, she has developed a body of art and writings inspired by a single painting by the French artist J.A.D. Ingres: his portrait of Pauline, the Princesse de Broglie, which he completed in 1853.

Throop remembered the painting from a postcard reproduction that once hung on the wall of her childhood bedroom. She went to the Metropolitan Museum in New York to see the original in 2018.

After that, she spent two and a half months in her Santa Rosa studio creating her meticulously detailed pencil drawing of the famed portrait.

Throop uses that portrait to open a series of “conversations,” as she describes it, interpreting the princess portrait in the styles of different artists.

Last year, she presented the work she had done to that point in an exhibit at the Backstreet Gallery in Santa Rosa’s A Street arts district.

Her newest exhibit of this ongoing project, titled “The Princesse: Retelling the Story of Art,” includes 31 pieces and runs through Aug. 20 at the Hammerfriar Gallery in Healdsburg.

“Storytelling is a large part of the show. My aim is to show the story of art (what we think of as art history), not as a narrow competition which privileges the voices of only a few artists, but rather a rich conversation between all artists,” she said.

In the show, Throop interprets the work of artists like Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso to show their relationship to Ingres’ pre-modern portrait. Throop hopes to show how modern art has changed our shared vision of the world.

There will be an artist’s reception from 3 to 6 p.m. July 2. She also will give a free talk titled “Let Me Tell You a Story” at 1 p.m. July 23. Two other talks follow: on Aug. 6, titled “How Do You Talk About Art,” and on Aug. 20, titled “The Sketchbooks.”

Hammerfriar Gallery, 132 Mill St., is one block south of the Healdsburg Plaza. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information:, and 707-473-9600.

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.

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