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Catalog Data

Artist:
Elaine de Kooning, 12 Mar 1918 - 1 Feb 1989  Search this
Sitter:
Willem de Kooning, 24 Apr 1904 - 19 Mar 1997  Search this
Medium:
Oil on panel
Dimensions:
Board: 98.1 x 64.8 x 1.3cm (38 5/8 x 25 1/2 x 1/2")
Frame: 127 x 93 x 8.9cm (50 x 36 5/8 x 3 1/2")
Type:
Painting
Date:
c. 1952
Exhibition Label:
In this portrait of Willem de Kooning, whose career as an Abstract Expressionist painter was just taking off in the early 1950s, the seated pose is open and informal and Willem’s facial features are essentially missing. However, the outlines of the head and body define individual likeness through sharp, jagged strokes of paint and contrasts of dark and light within a field of warm color.
Elaine drew and painted her husband often during the early to mid-1950s. This painting makes clear her interest in individual bodies and their recognizability. As she wrote in 1959, "I love the particular gesture of a particular expression or stance. I’m enthralled by the gesture of the silhouette (for portraits or anything else), the instantaneous illumination that enables you to recognize your father or a friend three blocks away."
Este retrato sentado de Willem de Kooning es de principios de los años cincuenta, cuando su carrera como pintor expresionista abstracto apenas estaba despegando. La pose es franca e informal, y las facciones son básicamente inexistentes. No obstante, la individualidad del sujeto queda definida en el trazado de la cabeza y el cuerpo con pinceladas firmes, de bordes accidentados, y contrastes de luz y sombra en un campo de colores cálidos.
Elaine dibujó y pintó a su esposo con frecuencia durante 1950–55. Esta pintura evidencia su interés en individualizar los cuerpos y hacerlos reconocibles. Tal como escribe en 1959, “Me gusta el gesto particular de una expresión o una postura. Me fascina el gesto de la silueta (en retratos o cualquier otra cosa), ese esclarecimiento instantáneo que te permite reconocer a tu padre o a un amigo a tres cuadras de distancia”.
Provenance:
Harold M. Fondren, New York; (William Doyle Galleries, New York); (Salander O’Reilly Galleries, New York); purchased 2002 NPG
Topic:
Willem de Kooning: Male  Search this
Willem de Kooning: Visual Arts\Artist\Painter  Search this
Willem de Kooning: Visual Arts\Art instructor  Search this
Willem de Kooning: Visual Arts\Artist\Painter\Muralist  Search this
Willem de Kooning: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
NPG.2002.181
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
Copyright:
© Elaine de Kooning Trust
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Location:
Currently not on view
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm45b78319d-64d0-42cb-8864-9ee3d681d594
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.2002.181