Willem de Kooning - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Monday, November 11, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Arlene Bujese Galllery, East Hampton
    Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
    Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

  • Exhibited

    East Hampton, Arlene Bujese Gallery, August 9 - August 28, 1997

  • Catalogue Essay

    As Willem de Kooning rocketed into his most prolific phase of his career in the 1950s, his artistic output seemed to come in all forms. Untitled, 1950-53 is an example of de Kooning’s fabulous industry during that time period. At once a study for larger paintings and a standalone work, the present lot is full of de Kooning’s rich figure-work, hissignature style evolving out of experiments in Cubism and previous forays into still-lifes. In Untitled, 1950-53, we observe de Kooning’s most famous subject, his Woman, in varying incarnations of existence. In the foreground at right, the largest nude dominates the piece, her polygonal body hinting at de Kooning’s maturing hand. Elsewhere, de Kooning plays with shadow and line, embellishing his much smaller figures with varying degrees of abstraction and verisimilitude.

    Though Untitled, 1950-53 has the distinguished air of a consumme at artwork, the largest figure in the drawing is undoubtedly a tribute tone of de Kooning’s most colorful depictions of his Women: Untitled(Three Women), 1948. Though it was painted several years before and bears the marks of an artist struggling to find his own visual language,the drawing features a figure with a pose nearly identical to that ofUntitled, 1950-53. Standing, with her left elbow extended away from her, the figure bears one of de Kooning’s favored postures, one of supreme confidence and even authority. It would be a figure that deKooning would return to again and again in his Woman years—an embodiment of feminine power.

  • 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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pencil on paper
9 3/8 x 7 1/2 in. (23.8 x 19.1 cm.)
Signed "de Kooning" lower center; further inscribed and encircled "22" upper left.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Day Sale
[email protected]
+1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York 12 November 2013 11AM