Bettie & Bella Abzug: Oil on Canvas
Marc H Miller, Bettie Ringma & Curt Hoppe
"Bettie and Congresswoman Bella Abzug" was the last of the Paparazzi Self-Portraits by the Miller Ringma Hoppe team. Bettie wanted the painting series to include a woman celebrity and after much debate the three of us decided to use a photograph of Bettie with Bella Abzug, taken when the popular congresswoman was campaigning for Senator in 1976.
At a time when there were few women in politics, Bella attracted attention for her hats and for blunt speech that made her a strong advocate for women and the working class. For the signing, the busy Abzug arranged for us to bring the painting to a Greenwich Village nightclub where she was hosting a fund-raiser. While our other subjects had clearly been wowed by Curt’s painting skills, the outspoken Bella was not particularly flattered by her portrait, making for a lively signing session captured on video by Paul Tschinkel. Eager to move on to more serious business, Bella complimented our project, and then made a quick exit refusing to give Curt a farewell kiss!