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ELAINE DE KOONING (1918-1989)

 
A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
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<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work. A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
<br>
<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work. A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
<br>
<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work. A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
<br>
<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work. A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
<br>
<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work. A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
<br>
<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work. A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
<br>
<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work. A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
<br>
<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work. A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
<br>
<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work. A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
<br>
<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work.
Untitled (Totem Pole)c. 196097 x 12 3/8 x 12 3/8 in.(246.38 x 31.43 x 31.43 cm) oil on canvas stretched over cardboard cylinders
Provenance
Family of Elaine de Kooning
Price375,000
A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 

She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work.
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“A painting to me is primarily a verb, not a noun — an event first and only secondarily an image.” – Elaine de Kooning

History

Mary Gabriel’s brilliant account of the women who stood behind then painted toe to toe with their male counterparts had to end the story at some point. After all, Ninth Street Women is 700 pages long. But its final chapter, appropriately entitled “Epilogue” summaries the next phase of the New York School and Abstract Expressionism as if it died in 1960 when Frank Stella’s rigorously painted canvases in black housepaint set the art world on its ears. Truly, there was more than a seasonal change in the air of Manhattan, but for three women — Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, and Elaine de Kooning — nothing could be further from the truth. Much of their best work would come in decades ahead. As for Elaine, by 1957 she had won a hard-fought battle to achieve self-sufficiency. She was free of Willem, had her own car, and as if to emphasize that fait accompli, she traveled west, experienced the color and expanse of the landscape, and tasted the drama and color of the corrida at the Plaza Monumental in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Her paintings and drawings were inspired by the dozen bullfights she attended. They are transmutations of that experience; swirling dervishes of color and heart-pounding action. The fervor with which she attacked the canvas or paper support changed forever. Suddenly, here was an artist who lived up to Harold Rosenberg’s ideal when he called the birth of “action painting…an arena in which to act” and stated that what appeared on the canvas “was not a picture but an event.”

More
  • EdK27843_history1
    Elaine de Kooning paints on a cylindrical sculpture in her New York studio, 1961
  • EdK27843_history2
    Elaine de Kooning, 1961, Frank W. McDarrah
  • EdK27843_history3
    The Graham Gallery exhibition of sixteen suspended cylinder paintings, April 1961
  • EdK27843_history4
    Elaine in her studio, 1963
  • EdK27843_history5
    “Untitled (Column)” 1961, oil on canvas on carpet tube, 107 ¼ x 12 in., Amarillo Museum of Art
“Inspiration is indispensable to my work, but it is hard to come by. It is there or it is not; it is a gift of the gods.” – Elaine de Kooning

MARKET INSIGHTS

  • EdK27843_auction1
    “Red Bison/Blue Horse” (1985-86), oil and charcoal on canvas, 77 ¾ x 108 ¼ in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 9 March 2021 for $562,500 USD, a new record price for the artist at auction.
  • EdK27843_auction2
    “Untitled” (c. late 1950s), oil on Masonite, 48 x 60 in. Sold at Doyle New York: 17 March 2021 for $428,400 USD, the second-highest auction price for the artist.
  • The two highest prices for Elaine de Kooning paintings sold at auction were just set in March 2021, signaling the rising value of works by Elaine
  • “Red Bison/Blue Horse” from the 1980s, set a new record for the artist at auction on 9 March 2021, selling for $562,500 USD.
  • One week later, an Elaine de Kooning bullfight painting from the late 1950s sold for $428,400 USD, the second-highest auction price for the artist.
  • We are seeing artworks by historically undervalued artists such as Elaine de Kooning continue to increase in value.

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