WILLEM DE KOONING | UNTITLED (STILL LIFE)
WILLEM DE KOONING
1904 - 1997
UNTITLED (STILL LIFE)
double-sided oil and graphite on board
Board: 11¼ by 8¼ in. (28.6 by 21 cm)
Framed: 21½ by 18¼ in. (54.6 by 46.4 cm)
Executed in 1939.
Please note that this work will be exhibited at Sotheby’s. Purchased items will be available for collection at Crozier Fine Arts, 1 Star Ledger Plaza, Newark, NJ as of Thursday, December 13th.
The work is in good condition overall. There is minor pigment separation to the upper right white passage and bottom of the central black passage. There is discoloration to the board, not affecting the central image and not visible when framed. There are some tears to the extreme edges of the board that have been repaired, which fluoresce under ultraviolet light and are not visible when framed and not affecting the central image. There are two minor punctures and studio splash to the board, not visible when framed and not affecting the central image. Under ultraviolet light inspection there is no evidence of restoration aside from the aforementioned conservation. Framed.
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.
New York, Allan Stone Gallery, De Kooning / Newman, October - November 1962
Detroit, J.L. Hudson Gallery, Willem de Kooning: Three Decades of Painting, March - April 1968, illustrated
New York, Allan Stone Gallery, Willem de Kooning: Liquefying Cubism, October 1994 - January 1995, pl. 7, illustrated
"Certainly Cubism with its rigid sculptural grid and carefully delineated volumetric forms was the most influential art idea of the early 20th century. By liquefying Cubism, de Kooning brought Cubism into the age of space-flight, jet-travel and electronic communication. Indeed, de Kooning created such dynamism in his work that one feels that the painting is continually moving and that to look away from it is to miss some of the happening."
Allan Stone in Exh. Cat., New York, Allan Stone Gallery, Liquefying Cubism, 1994, pp. II-III
Of all the abstract painters exhibited and collected by Allan Stone, none is more closely associated with his program and expertise than the Abstract Expressionist giant Willem de Kooning. Allan Stone mounted numerous comprehensive exhibitions of de Kooning's work, and many of the most revered de Kooning paintings and works on paper in prestigious collections passed through Allan Stone's hands.
Untitled (Still Life), 1939, demonstrates a clear response to European Surrealist tendencies, as well as de Kooning’s admiration for Paul Klee and Joan Miró. It also explores a dialogue with the work of John Graham and Stuart Davis (both of whom de Kooning met around 1927). This biomorphic painting relates closely to the early abstract work, Father, Mother, Sister, Brother, c. 1937, that was exhibited in the artist's retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2011.
Willem de Kooning was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1904. As a youth, he spent nights studying at the city’s Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques. In 1926, de Kooning immigrated to the United States. While establishing himself among the group of ascendant Abstract Expressionists, de Kooning briefly taught at Black Mountain College and the Yale University School of Art. He painted voraciously from the 1940s through the late 1980s, when dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease halted his artistic production. Early shows at Charles Egan Gallery and Sidney Janis Gallery segued into large scale exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institute, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Posthumous exhibitions include a full-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2011, among smaller shows at Gagosian, Pace, and Allan Stone Gallery. During his lifetime, de Kooning received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), the Andrew W. Mellon Prize (1979), and the National Medal of Arts (1986). The Willem de Kooning Foundation was established in 2011 by Lisa de Kooning, the artist’s daughter. De Kooning passed away in 1997, at his home in East Hampton, New York.