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Portrait of Georgetown Woman Left for Her to Find

D.C. artist's oil painting is one of 10 portraits of everyday people she met on the street.

One day this summer, D.C. artist Nicole Bourgea stopped a Georgetown woman, dressed in head to toe white, while she was walking her small white dog along Wisconsin Avenue and asked her to sit for a photo portrait.

On a cool fall morning Bourgea left a five-by-four-foot oil painting of the woman and her dog where the portrait was take at A Mano (1677 Wisconsin Ave., NW). A note accompanying the painting read simply, "If this is you, this painting is yours to take."

The Georgetown woman's painting was one of 10 Bourgea created for her project "AS IS: An Urban Portrait Project."

Bourgea said her portrait project was meant to make us consider, "Do we really see each other anymore?"

"I want to tell people that they are seen. It is my hope that in some small way this project will ignite conversation about the power and the gift of notice," wrote Bourgea in an email to Patch.

Bourgea's plan for the project was to return to the place where she met the subject of each portrait and leave the painting in the hopes he or she would find it.

After Patch previously reported on Bourgea's painting of the woman, readers sent emails to Patch identifying the woman as long-time Georgetown resident, Joy Blair.

Friends told Blair about the surprising gift awaiting her and she decided to stop by the sneak peek unveiling of the portraits on Aug. 31 at The Dunes gallery (1402 Meridian Pl., NW).

"She was wearing the exact same outfit, and it was just such a cool image to have the portrait behind the woman herself," wrote Bourgea in an email after the event.

Blair agreed to wait until Oct. 1, the date Bourgea had picked to leave the portraits as gifts.

"I was really touched to hear that the project's aim of sharing the gift of notice had moved her," wrote Bourgea.

Patch is hoping to do a follow-up article to show the portrait in its new home.

Photos by Marcie Revens.

Michael Jantzen October 05, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I swear I have a photo of the same woman: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mvjantzen/4553398612/lightbox/
Shaun Courtney (Editor) October 05, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Wow, that must be her! I tracked down a phone number and I am hoping to give her a call next week. I'll post an update soon and I'll try to remember to ask her about your photo, Michael! -Shaun

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