Edward Kennedy Ellington was born in Washington D.C. during the year 1899. He was called the "Duke" because he always dressed immaculately…his dress and manner was like that of royalty. Duke called himself a "piano player", however, in later years; he referred to his band as his instrument.

"I'm often asked what inspired me to paint Duke Ellington, and to that I say as a tribute to "The Duke" on his Centennial Birthday Celebration. Music definitely "hath charms" and my musical tastes are varied. When I listen to Duke Ellington, his music conjures up memories of my childhood.

I was blessed with a family full of heroes and role models and "The Duke" was a natural extension of those heroes. He and my parents lived during a time when style was everything. Not just dressing in a manner consistent with style; but also style in conversation and dance. The art of being able to express oneself meant so much. The Duke was able to accomplish this with his words, his dress, and his music. Music of the swing era and especially the Duke's music, inspired young people of all backgrounds to express themselves through dance. The Lindy Hop (named for aviator, Charles Lindberg) was "the dance" among young people. There were many variations of "The Lindy" limited only by the dancer's imagination.
What inspired me to paint "the Duke"? Why it was "The Duke" of course..."

Duke Ellington Website

-Rick Holton

Duke Ellington
Medium: watercolor
Sale: originals are not for sale
Size: 20" x 30"
Prints: $200/ signed and numbered

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