The man who modeled for a painting of Bill Clinton wearing a blue dress and bright red heels seven years ago has come forward to express shock about the artwork's recent rise to infamy.
"I was absolutely stunned to find out that Epstein bought [the] painting during a major event at the school," Chris Nayal told Artnet News. "Some past students even recognized my legs in that painting."
Nayal, a model who hails from France, told the outlet he has posed for students at the New York Academy of Art since 2001, including Australian artist Petrina Ryan-Kleid, the mastermind behind "Parsing Bill," who he described as an "absolute joy" to work with.
Ryan-Kleid expressed similar shock upon learning her 2012 painting was reportedly hung in convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's New York City mansion, which only came to light after he committed suicide in prison.
The artist told the New York Post on Thursday that the original painting was sold to an attendant at a fundraiser her school put on at the New York Academy of Art's Tribeca Ball seven years ago.
"I had no idea who the buyer was at the time," Ryan-Kleid told the outlet. "As with most of my paintings, I had completely lost track of this piece when it was sold. So it was a complete surprise to me to learn that it wound up in Epstein's home."
Although smaller prints of "Parsing Bill" are still listed for sale through online art gallery Saatchi Art starting at $40 apiece, Ryan-Kleid says she feels uncomfortable with the boom in demand for the portrait.
The painter told Artnet News she tried unsuccessfully to have the listing removed from the site, adding that the system was unresponsive, possibly due to the volume of traffic it has received over the past week.
"Saatchi takes most of the money, but apparently I am owed about $14 per print," she told the outlet, adding she isn't sure if she'll keep the money from any new prints sold.
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