Rudolph Burckhardt, New York Anthology Film Archives, New York Christie's, New York, 8 May 1984, Lot 2 (consigned by the above) Acquired from the above sale by the present owner
Allan Stone, 'Willem de Kooning: Liquefying Cubism,' New York 1994, illus. pl. 6B
This early Surrealist work by de Kooning, who become known as a prominent member of the Abstract Expressionist school, reveals his dedication to the work of his major influence at this time, Arshile Gorky. Gorky gave new form to European Surrealism, an art form focused on unlocking the unconscious, with a lyrical abstraction that prefigured Abstract Expressionism. At the time of this work’s creation, de Kooning had just finished a period of employment at the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Works Progress Administration, from which he was banned because he lacked American citizenship, having come to the country as a stowaway on a ship a decade earlier. The current work is representative of the unrealized plans that the artist executed for FAP murals.
This work is in very good condition overall. The sheet is window matted and cornered to the backing board. There is a soft undulation to the sheet, visible upon close inspection. There are artist's pinholes to the upper and lower edges. There are soft creases to the upper corners, not visible when matted. There is a 1/4 inch tear to the upper right corner, not visible when matted. The sheet is discolored and there is wear to the unpainted edges of the sheet, including accretions, watermarks and handling marks, only partially visible upon close inspection when matted. There are scattered surface accretions, primarily visible to the white painted passages. There is scattered craquelure and pinpoint pigment loss, and in some areas the underlying paint layers have become visible. Framed under glass. The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.