The Woman in Gold at Saint Paul, Minnesota (2015)
Acrylic and oil on canvas
48 x 24 inches
This reinterpretation of the original Woman in Gold (Gustav Klimt, 1907) features Kristen Armstrong who raced several times in Mankato during the Nature Valley Grand Prix professional bike race.
About the time Klimt was working on the original painting the 1904 Summer Olympics were taking place in St. Louis, Missouri. In retrospect the 6 female athletes (of 651 total athletes) seems a shockingly low participation rate.
Over a century later, in the 2008 Summer Olympics Kristen Armstrong won her first gold medal in the women’s road time trial. She was one of 4,637 women (of 10,942 total athletes) who competed. It was a victory on many levels.
Armstrong’s compelling gold medal performances in now three Olympic games is one of many extra-ordinary examples of female achievement in the sport. And yet, women are not allowed to participate in the Tour of France. The female versions of the tour,
Tour de France Féminin (last run in 1989) and La Course, have come and gone due to poor media coverage and lack of financial support.
"The head of the Tour de France said recently that a standalone women's tour is almost inevitable, and the French president of the International Cycling Union said he wants to see a women's Tour de France in place before his term is up in 2021.” Beardsley, E. (2018, July 5) "Women Stage Their Own Tour De France On Same Route, With Tougher Conditions,” Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2018/07/05/626300297/women-stage-their-own-tour-de-france-on-same-route-with-tougher-conditions.
This painting is a celebration of female cyclists and their achievements in spite of struggles for equal representation and opportunities to compete on the international stage.