243
243

JOY, LOVE AND PEACE: THE PETER B. LEWIS COLLECTION

Willem De Kooning
WOMAN LANDSCAPE XII
Estimation
700 000900 000
Lot. Vendu 1,325,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
243

JOY, LOVE AND PEACE: THE PETER B. LEWIS COLLECTION

Willem De Kooning
WOMAN LANDSCAPE XII
Estimation
700 000900 000
Lot. Vendu 1,325,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Willem De Kooning
1904 - 1997
WOMAN LANDSCAPE XII
signed
oil on paper mounted to canvas
41 3/4 by 30 in. 106.1 by 76.2 cm.
Executed in 1968.
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Provenance

Willem de Kooning Conservancy, New York
Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above in July 1996

Description

In 1963 when de Kooning moved permanently to East Hampton, he had long since established himself as a respected New York City artist. He never settled into one style for too long, but was constantly searching for a technique that felt true to himself, even if it meant enduring years of poverty in his early life. An artist whose oeuvre is marked by transition, de Kooning’s physical move in 1963 is undoubtedly visible in his artwork, which took a softer and friendlier tone. However, throughout his life the figure of the woman remained a constant and iconic theme in his body of work. 

The move to East Hampton was a realization of de Kooning’s desire to separate himself from the wealth and privilege often present in Manhattan’s milieu. The more rural landscape of Long Island, and especially the proximity to the ocean, was a familiar reminder of de Kooning’s native Holland. The present work, created 5 years after his move, is a beautiful example of his change in pace. The earthy oranges, bright yellows, deep greens, and pastel blues naturally bring to mind a leisurely day by the seashore, while the deftly applied stokes of paint exude confidence and vitality. The fluidity and curvature of line also lend the work a sense of dynamism and motion. The central figure of the woman is primarily defined by three swaths of peach-colored paint in the middle of the canvas. As is typical with works of the later 1960s, de Kooning flirted with the limits of abstraction, pushing the boundaries as far as possible while still retaining distinct subject matter. Her fleshy body melts into the surrounding landscape, but simultaneously projects a sense of tactile sensuality, harking back to the voluptuous female portraits of Peter Paul Rubens and the Old Masters.

This image sharply contrasts with his women of the early 1950s, for which he initially gained recognition. These women are imposing figures, daring the viewer to approach.  Their stare is aggressive, and the color palette jarring, recalling the tumult and grit of city life. By contrast, Woman in Landscape XII is flirtatious and inviting, drawing the viewer in to her beguiling landscape. This work clearly embodies de Kooning’s shift towards a more calm and sensual style, in which he drew his focus back to the basics of painting: color, line, and form. 

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York