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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

    Willem de Kooning was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and 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 painters Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and of course his wife, Elaine de Kooning. 

    Known for having stated “flesh is the reason why oil painting was invented,” de Kooning’s work often evokes the human body--even as some of his contemporaries moved towards pure abstraction. Like the other Abstract Expressionists, de Kooning was a proponent of “Action Painting,” which emphasized the physical aspect of their work, eschewing the idea that painting was necessarily a careful, precise art form. By the 1960s, the artist was living and working out of his farmhouse on Long Island, and he managed to breathe new life into his work after decades in an urban environment. Though he was no longer a public figure at that time, the resultant body of works that he produced from 1975 through 1977 are among his most renowned, both critically and in the marketplace – his auction records since 2006 have been works from this period. Following a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s, the artist made his last work in 1991 and passed away in 1997.

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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