Francis Alys - Fabiola (2008)
“The story of St. Fabiola, a 4th-century Roman aristocrat from the Fabia family who is supposed to have been an early Mother Teresa, became popular in the late 19th century, and an 1885 portrait of her by a French academician (which is now lost) has since been endlessly copied around the world.
Appearing on postcards, posters and religious trinkets, Fabiola has been a beloved subject for countless painters, most of them amateurs. The portrait’s format is almost always the same: Fabiola is seen in profile facing left, her head covered by a rich red veil.
Mr. Alys, who was born in Belgium in 1959 and moved to Mexico City in 1990, began collecting Fabiola paintings—as the genre is called—about 15 years ago, buying them at thrift shops, flea markets and antiques stores primarily in Mexico and Europe. He has previously shown his collection three times, when it was much smaller; the current presentation includes more than 300 works.”