Description: Koch's Interlude

This painting presents what appears to be a strange interaction: a woman dressed in a bright bathrobe hands a cup of tea to a younger, naked woman seated on the edge of a bed.  A man sits in the background on a sagging sofa, smoking a cigarette.  It’s only by noticing what the man is looking at that the story comes into focus: he’s the artist himself, John Koch, who’s been painting the nude model.  During a break in the posing session, his wife has brought tea to the model, who reaches her hand out to take the cup.  The wife’s informal dress and slight smile and the model’s nonchalance at her nudity suggest this is not the first time this situation has played out.

John Koch was quoted as saying “I find the back of a human being as eloquent and expressive as a face,” and he may have had this painting in mind.  The model was Rosetta Howard Morgan, who posed for Koch more than once.  The graceful outline of her back and hip are mirrored in the curves of the back and leg of the chair to the left of Mrs. Koch.  The two women’s foreshortened arms—their hands near but not touching—demonstrate the artist’s skill.

  • Artist: John Koch, American, 1909 - 1978
  • Created: 1963
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Hawks, 65.12