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  • Provenance

    Noah Goldowsky Gallery, New York; Allan Stone Gallery, New York; Collection Winston and Susan McGee, Cleveland; Collection Larry Gordon, Los Angeles; Private Collection; Spanierman Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    I don’t feel like a non-objective painter at all…it had to do with the female painted through all the ages, all those idols. And maybe I’d been stuck to a certain extent, couldn’t go on. And it did one thing for me: it eliminated composition, arrangement, relationships, light — …all this silly talk about line, color and form... — because that was the thing I wanted to get hold of. I put it in the center of the canvas because there was no reason to put it a bit on the side. So I thought I might as well stick to the idea that it’s got two eyes, a nose and a mouth and neck… I got to the anatomy and I felt myself always getting flustered. I really could never get hold of it. It always petered out… it became compulsive in the sense of not being able to get hold of it…it really is very funny…to get stuck with a woman’s knees, for instance. You say, what the hell am I going to do with that now…it’s really ridiculous…it became a problem of picture painting, because the very fact that it had word connected with it- figure of a woman- made it more precise. [Forms] ought to have the emotion of a concrete experience…I am very happy to see that grass is green. At one time, it was very daring to make a figure red or blue: I think now that it is just as daring to make it flesh-colored.
    Willem de Kooning, in a 1960 BBC interview with David Sylvester, taken from M. Glimcher, Willem de Kooning Jean Dubuffet The Women, New York, 1990, pp.7 - 8.
    The present lot, Bewitched Woman, executed in 1965, delights in de Kooning’s emergence from his steadfast 1950s forms of pure abstraction and delves straight into the highly stylized and fetishistic era of the 1960s with his form-filled depictions of women. The color, form and gestural splashes of brushwork evoke de Kooning’s most typical forms, but the palette and vividness of the composition awaken another sense to the artist’s deepest form of expression. This work, in essence, is a true homage to the female spirit and the artist’s own spirit, too.

  • Artist Biography

    Willem de Kooning

    American • 1904 - 1997

    Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Willem de Kooning moved to the United States in his early 20s, arriving in Manhattan by 1927. A founding member of the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York, de Kooning was a contemporary of Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and of course his wife, Elaine de Kooning. Having claimed that “flesh is the reason why oil painting was invented,” de Kooning is best known for his rapid, forceful brushwork and thickly impastoed paint in evoking the human body, even as some of his contemporaries moved towards pure abstraction. Like the other New York School painters, de Kooning was a proponent of “Action Painting,” which emphasized the physical aspect of the work, eschewing the idea that painting was necessarily a careful, precise art form.

    By the 1960s, the artist was living and working in East Hampton, where he managed to breathe new life into his work after decades in an urban environment and remained there until his death in 1997 at the age of 92. De Kooning’s works reside in leading institutions worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., Tate, London, and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

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Bewitched Woman

Oil on paper laid down on masonite.
29 7/8 x 11 in. (75.9 x 27.9 cm).
Signed "de Kooning" lower left.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Contemporary Art Part II

13 Nov 2009
New York