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New "impressionistic" portrait of British Queen goes on show

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London (dpa) - A popular television artist Monday revealed what he called an "impressionistic" portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, commissioned to mark the British monarch's 80th birthday next April.

Rolf Harris, an Australian who trained as an artist but made his name as an entertainer, said: "I'm not making any claims that this is the greatest painting in the world. I've done the best I can."

Harris, who had two sittings of an hour each with the queen, said he was "really thrilled with the impressionistic look" of the painting.

"I really like the way you get the blueness of the veins coming through the skin", he told the BBC.

One newspaper described the image as "blurred" with "unflattering heavy features". But Harris said: "I wanted to capture the lady as she is with all her humour and reality."

He added: "I wanted to avoid the formal sort of portrait with all the jewellery and pomp and splendour."

The queen was Monday reported to be satisfied with the product, which will be exhibited in the Queen's Gallery in London from Tuesday.

When Harris explained to her that he had "refined the blurs", she reportedly replied: "That sounds an interesting way of doing it."

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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