How Women First Climbed Astride A Motorcycle

DavidUhlStellabigDavidUhlStellaDetailLast weekend artist David Uhl just completed a new painting called “Stella”. Below he describes the reasons why he created this new masterpiece.

“It has been 2 years since the introduction of Evelyn, the last piece in my “Women of Harley Series.” The Evelyn painting was a portrait of a seasoned rider on her way to a hill climb in the early thirties. She was composed of big bold strokes with expressive paint and colors.  I got to thinking of how women first climbed astride the iron horse in the first place and did a little research. It appears that the decade before, “The Roaring Twenties”, was the culprit for a paradigm shift of attitudes. Now I wanted to do an accurate rendering with all the details of this slice of American history.

I decided to produce a piece that went full circle back to the “Ruby” era, except focus on the motorcycle as the catalyst of change. Stella sits outside the Oxford Hotel in full 20s regalia on a shiny new Harley Davidson, igniting the onslaught of the  previous  victorian generation display of contempt.  These young women of the 20s could not have been more shocking to their parents. They flew airplanes, rode motorcycles, stayed out dancing until the morning hours, not to mention the attire.  Harley-Davidson’s rich heritage includes these type of scenes, and I hope you enjoy my window into that past”.  Uhl Studios

The edition size and prices will be the same as with “Evelyn”, all hand-signed and numbered canvas giclee prints: “Large” – image size appx 32×24, 150 prints plus 25 Artist Proofs and 25 House Copies. Price is $1,895 framed. “Oversize” – image size appx 40×30, 20 prints plus 5 Artist Proofs.  Price is $3,850 framed. “Jumbo” – image size appx 48×36, 10 prints plus 2 Artist Proofs. Price is $4,850 framed. Contact Greg at: 303-913-4840 greg@uhlstudios.com

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14 Responses to “How Women First Climbed Astride A Motorcycle”


  1. 1 J. Mansell Jan 29th, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Sexy 20’s.

  2. 2 Fluke Jan 29th, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I have a total passion for the 20 america: music, fashion, design.

    I just love this painting, takes me to a time I wish I had lived. well, other than that whole prohibition and depression stuff.

    Great work, David. I love it.

    Is it really bad on a bike blog that I know the car is a 28 or 29 Model A, but I have no idea what model the HD is?

  3. 3 Pepper Jan 30th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    While Ruby will always be my favourite, I’d have to say that David has done it again. I’ve always told him that he does a magnificent job of allowing us to see past a beautiful face and into the souls of the women he paints so well. He’s done it again.

  4. 4 Knucklehead Jan 30th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Ahhh! Stella.

  5. 5 Christina Shook Jan 31st, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Hmmm, really? They took took their clothes off first and wore red lingerie?
    Sounds more like what guys want to see.

  6. 6 david uhl Feb 1st, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Dear Christina, thank you for your comment. I have no doubt my piece represents what “guys want to see” especially myself.
    That fact conceded; I have included a link to an excellent historical video of what inspired me to paint this piece. If you take a minute to view, should add context to the attitude of my girl Stella. The dress/outfit is actually an antique from a local theater supply house, it’s what she does in it that fires people up. Flappers – The Roaring Twenties. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3svvCj4yhYc&feature=email

  7. 7 Christina Shook Feb 1st, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Real women motorcyclists in the 20’s were out there doing amazing things. What would Dot Robinson think of your picture?

  8. 8 david uhl Feb 1st, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Dot from the maids came along a bit later and would probably have related more to Evelyn, Ruth, Rose, Pearl, and Betty, probably not so much to Stella and Ruby. I am absolutely sure she would have loved my Enthusiast painting for the 100th. And I am positive she would have applauded her elder matriarch the great Vivian Bales.
    Of all these paintings, by far the least popular was My piece for the HD Museum of Vivian. Even with the female riding community, very few of my audience cared enough to explore her amazing accomplishments. Sad but true. Vivian graced the cover of the Enthusiast in 1929, and was a lovely and exiting woman that really impressed me. I thought the painting came out beautifully, but it seemed nobody cared. Ruby predated Viv on the cover of Enthusiast in 1926 and the contrast in popularity is remarkable. Even the 500 prints (sold out for 8 years), if you can find one sells for around 5k. go figure?
    Stella does not represent a woman rider, neither of course was Ruby, both are just intriguing images of a turbulent era. For 12 years now I have witnessed a peculiar love affair with the Ruby image, probably loved more by women than men. I personally think it’s the rebellion and sex appeal she symbolized rather than if she was a proficient rider.
    My interpretation of history covers many factions, and I attempt to do it in a way that will inspire some emotion one way or another. In your case I guess I have succeeded. Thank you for the interesting commentary.

  9. 9 Jennifer Santolucito Feb 2nd, 2010 at 2:40 am

    I am in love with this painting.

    Jennifer “Scott” Santolucito

  10. 10 mike corbin Feb 2nd, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    david is great artist and he is relentless

  11. 11 Me.... Feb 3rd, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Not only is David an (inherently) exuberently talented man, but also incredibly intelligent, as well! Absolutely stunning work! I am not the least bit annoyed with the lack of clothes on Stella…I love that she is so rebellious – just what you were looking for! Kinda reminds me of me 😉 – but much prettier. Stunning…thanks for sharing, Dave!!

    Me 🙂

  12. 12 Janet/Corn Dog Feb 19th, 2010 at 12:26 am

    What elevates this painting from being just another picture of a sexualized woman perched on a bike is the women in the background. Their obvious disapproval adds a whole layer of “story” to the painting and is probably the aspect that resonates most with me. I do think Stella’s beautiful – I DON’T think she represents “how women first climbed astride a motorcycle,” but that’s the title of the blog post and not the title of the picture so it’s kind of irrelevant to me. What I like is how the other women react to her. The complete contrast of their dress to hers and their obvious attitude toward her, remind me that while History seems to want us to remember only the flappers, they really represented only part of our culture. The other part was all buttoned up and gasping in horror at what “those young people” were up to. For me the picture is more a “moment in history” – the old guard meeting the next generation – than it is a picture of a girl on a motorcycle. The “character” Stella is not my favorite in the series, but the story I experience when I look at the painting is really compelling.

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