As rumours and conspiracy theories continue to spread surrounding the death of Jeffrey Epstein and the circumstances under which it happened, further details about the late financier’s private life are starting to emerge.
According to reports, the convicted sex offender’s multimillion-dollar mansion in Manhattan was full of strange artefacts and odd artwork. One piece of art, however, not only hinted at Epstein’s far-reaching connections, but the less-than-savoury practices he was involved in too.
The painting in question is called ‘Parsing Bill’, and was created by artist Petrina Ryan-Kleid. It apparently depicts former US president Bill Clinton lounging in the Oval Office in a blue dress and red heels, and Epstein allegedly had the artwork hanging in his private home.
A photo of the painting was reportedly taken in October in 2012, four years after he pleaded guilty to procuring an underage girl for prostitution, and seven years before he was arrested again on federal charges for sex trafficking of minors.
The source who allegedly took the photo told MailOnline they were visiting Epstein’s house to discuss a business proposal, and caught sight of the painting through an open door.
It was absolutely Bill Clinton. It was shocking – it was definitely a painting of him. It was a very provocative, sexual picture. He was wearing heels, a blue dress and his hand was in a weird position.
It was through a door that had been left temporarily open by his housekeeper or butler. I thought, ‘Why in the world would Epstein have that up?’ I didn’t even know that they knew each other.
A photo of the painting through the doorway was reportedly taken by the source’s business partner.
Epstein and Clinton seemed to be friends at one point, with former president even flying on Epstein’s private jet, which was dubbed the ‘Lolita Express’, at least four times between 2002 and 2003 with the president’s name appearing on the flight log 12 times, according to The Cut.
The painting of Clinton, particularly his hand position, was reportedly inspired by the famous image of Uncle Sam in the WW1 recruitment poster, while the term ‘parsing’ can mean to analyse and uncover the deeper meaning of something. It has also been suggested the blue dress is similar to the one worn by Monica Lewinsky during one of her meetings with Clinton.
It was created by Petrina Ryan-Kleid, an Australian artist based in New York, who specialises in satire. It’s unclear whether Epstein owned the original ‘Parsing Bill’, or had a print.
The painting of Bill Clinton wasn’t the only eyebrow-raising piece of artwork Epstein apparently owned, however.
Elsewhere in his New York home, Epstein reportedly had ‘row upon row of individually framed eyeballs’, according to Vanity Fair, which were imported from England and ‘made for injured soldiers’.
Around the huge $77 million townhouse also hung other artworks such as an ‘Oriental fantasy of a woman holding an opium pipe and caressing a snarling lionskin’, a stuffed black poodle standing on top of a Steinway grand piano, a chessboard made with ‘suggestively’ dressed figurines for pieces, and a specially commissioned mural of Epstein himself in the middle of a prison, surrounded by barbed wire and prison guards.
Other pieces included a life-size doll hanging from a chandelier, and a dining table covered in photos of famous people, reportedly including a signed photo of Clinton.
In Vanity Fair‘s profile, Epstein is described as ‘one of the few truly baffling mysteries among New York’s moneyed world’, adding ‘people know snippets, but few know the whole.’ After his death, it seems a few of those mysteries are already unravelling.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.