Sunraysia Daily, March, 2004

Local cook Stefano de Pieri is already a well-known face – now it is hanging in Sydney

A portrait of Stefano painted by former Mildura resident Andrea Smith is currently at the National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery, on Observatory Hill at the Rocks, Sydney. “Esse Quam Videri” (To Live How You Are) is the title of the portrait, which was originally painted as an entrant in the Archibald Prize last month.

While it was not selected by the judges, the S.H. Irvin Gallery chose it as one of 34 portraits from the remaining 700 Archibald Prize entries for its “Salon des Refuses” exhibition.

Upon hearing her painting had been selected for the exhibition, Ms Smith said she was “ecstatic”.

Before its departure to Sydney an impromptu unveiling of the portrait was held at Gallery 25 on February 20, attended by about 100 guests made up of Stefano and Ms Smith’s family and friends. Stefano spoke of his experience as a “sitter” over the 150 hours it took to complete the portrait and the difficulties associated with standing still for long periods of time.
Ms. Smith talked about the hours spent in Stefano’s kitchen and difference between painting there compared to in an artists’ studio. She said in the past her works have been painted on gilded panel, however for Stefano’s portrait she chose to use white gold as the cold greys of the stainless steel in the picture, a neutral colored apron to highlight the colors, the red of the stove, white of his shirt and green stripe on the tea towel representing the Italian flag. As Stefano prefers to be referred to as a cook, he chooses to wear a t-shirt and apron instead of a chef’s uniform.

The exhibition in Sydney is open now and will continue until May 2.