Lot 114
  • 114

Willem De Kooning

400,000 - 600,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Willem de Kooning
  • Woman
  • signed; dedicated To Leo from Bill on the reverse
  • oil on paper mounted on canvas
  • 29 1/2 by 22 1/4 in. 75 by 57.2 cm.
  • Executed in 1965.


Mr. and Mrs. Leo Cohan, New Jersey (acquired directly from the artist)
Sotheby's, New York, March 22, 1979, lot 82
Syd Deutsch and Shaindy Fenton, Fort Worth
Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Museum purchase, The Benjamin J. Tillar Memorial Trust


New York, Salander O'Reilly Galleries, Willem de Kooning: An Exhibition of Paintings, September - October 1990, cat. no. 12, illustrated in color
Beverly Hills, Salander O'Reilly Galleries, Willem de Kooning: An Exhibition of Important Paintings and Works on Paper, January - February 1991

Catalogue Note

In 1963, after achieving success as one of the most highly esteemed Abstract Expressionist artists of postwar New York, Willem de Kooning left the city and relocated to East Hampton, Long Island.  Despite maintaining consistent iconography and brushwork, de Kooning’s transformation in palette and style coincided with his move away from the bustling streets of Manhattan.  He indulged himself in the liquidity of oil paint – frequently employing a smeared effect.  The archetypal figures of Women in their environments, previously jarring and harsh, became friendly and pastoral.  In contrast to de Kooning’s distinctly aggressive and disquieting figures of the previous decade mirroring the tumult of the city - Woman I (1950-52) being the quintessential example - the later series of Women of the 1960s, created in his new serene setting, feature flowing brushwork, warm color combinations and an overall mood of grace and leisure.  


The present work, Woman, which de Kooning painted in 1965, is one such example in which a vibrant palette, abstracted figuration and liquefied paint application work in tandem with de Kooning’s suggestive female poses to inject a renewed primal vitality into this famed series of tactile, fleshy Women.  In the paintings of this period, de Kooning’s distinctions among face, torso and legs are indeterminate and dissolved – often pulled apart and spread across the canvas.  He investigates this distortion of figure, returning to the bare essentials of form as well as color.  The flattened abstraction of Woman relates to the art historical debate surrounding modernist pictorial space, yet simultaneously exudes an explicit sexuality.  The provocative nature of this arousing subject matter is evident.  This fluid depiction gestures a more contemplative yet sensual period in his work.