Petrina Ryan-Kleid is the artist behind the Bill Clinton blue dress painting that has shocked the internet in recent days. The painting, titled “Parsing Bill,” was reportedly a fixture in Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, making the story that much stranger.
In truth, Epstein had very little to do with the creation of the painting. According to ArtNet Galleries, the painting was a part of a project for Ryan-Kleid while she was a graduate student at the New York Academy of Art.
Ryan-Kleid gave a statement on August 16 saying she had no clue who had purchased it until an exclusive on the painting surfaced by The Daily Mail earlier this week.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Petrina Ryan-Kleid: ‘I Had Completely Lost Track of This Piece’
Ryan-Kleid gave a statement on the painting on August 16. She said,
In 2012, as a grad student at the New York Academy of Art, I painted pictures of Presidents Bill Clinton and Bush as part of my Master’s thesis. When the school put on a fundraiser at the Tribeca Ball that year, they sold my painting to one of the attendees. I had no idea who the buyer was at the time. As with most of my paintings, I had completely lost track of this piece when it was sold seven years ago. So it was a complete surprise to me to learn yesterday that it wound up in Epstein’s home.
10×10 copies of “Parsing Bill” are available for purchase on Saatchi Art for $40. It’s unclear how much the original piece of artwork went for seven years ago.
2. Petrina Ryan-Kleid Worked as a Studio Assistant for Jeff Koons From 2015-2016
According to ArtNet Galleries, Ryan-Kleid worked as a studio assistant to the famous Jeff Koons for two years, in 2015 and 2016. Koons is an American artist known for his reproductions of ordinary objects, like a balloon animal.
Though Ryan-Kleid doesn’t have many pieces of artwork readily available on the internet, she is known for another striking painting of a political figure: namely, that of George Bush sitting on the floor of the oval office, holding a paper airplane and surrounded by jenga blocks.
Many have speculated that the painting is an overt nod to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but Ryan-Kleid has never made a public statement on the artwork. You can see the painting below.
3. Petrina Ryan-Kleid Now Does Social Media Marketing for Artists in New York
Ryan-Kleid is Australian American. She now works as a social media marketing consultant for artists in New York. It’s not clear if she’s still making her own artwork or not.
Though both of Ryan Kleid’s available paintings appear to be oil on canvas, many online were speculating that they looked so real as to be photos, particularly for “Parsing Bill.” Others noticed that his dress appears to be inspired by a dress his wife, Hillary wore once.
Ryan-Kleid hasn’t given many public statements on the painting; she has not confirm that his dress was inspired by the one his wife wore.
4. There Are Countless Theories About the Painting’s Meaning for Epstein
There have been a number of conspiracy theories passed around in recent days regarding the connection between Epstein and this painting, not to mention Epstein and the Clintons in particular. President Trump notably retweeted a conspiracy theory that suggested the Clintons played a role in Epstein’s suicide on August 13.
The tweet, by Terrence Williams, reads, “Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen #JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this! RT if you’re not Surprised #EpsteinSuicide #ClintonBodyCount #ClintonCrimeFamily”
Trump has since defended his retweet, telling reporters via Politico, “The retweet — which is what it was, just a retweet — was from somebody that’s a very respected conservative pundit, so I think that was fine.” As for the Clintons, Bill Clinton has maintained he knew nothing of Epstein’s alleged crimes, and that he hadn’t spoken with Epstein in over a decade by the time of the billionaire’s death.
Other various conspiracy theories have speculated on a “Bill Clinton code” within the painting, among other theories.
5. Epstein Had Several Larger-Than-Life Pieces of Artwork in His Collection
Though the “Parsing Bill” painting is certainly something to catch your eye, Epstein had a number of shocking paintings within his collection.
According to The New York Post, Epstein’s Manhattan townhome also featured a mannequin in a wedding gown hanging from a ceiling directly above a staircase.