Tony Bennett’s painting inspired by Duke Ellington’s pink roses, God is Love, is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection in Washington, D.C.

“Though I am a singer, I have been painting all my life, and one thing I have learned is that nature never disappoints. I gravitate to landscapes and still lifes with botanicals as the subject, which has given me a deep appreciation for the extraordinary beauty of flowers. One of my favorites is the pink rose, because I associate them with the jazz master Duke Ellington. Duke and I were good friends, and every time he wrote a new song he would send me a dozen pink roses to let me know. As a tribute to him, I painted his portrait and put pink roses in the background. I called it God is Love, something Duke would often say.”—Tony Bennett

Photograph by Leisa Cole | Painting ©1996 Tony Bennett/Benedetto | Black and white photo: Everett Collection

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