Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Woman

Artist:
Willem de Kooning (American (born The Netherlands), Rotterdam 1904–1997 East Hampton, New York)
Date:
1944
Medium:
Oil and charcoal on canvas
Dimensions:
45 7/8 × 31 3/4 in. (116.5 × 80.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
From the Collection of Thomas B. Hess, Gift of the heirs of Thomas B. Hess, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.613.2
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
In the 1940s, de Kooning, with his friend the artist Arshile Gorky, frequented the Metropolitan Museum to study portraits by nineteenth-century French artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. This seated figure, which belongs to de Kooning’s first series of "women" paintings, demonstrates his interest in the human form. Awkwardly posed, the woman’s arms, legs, and breasts exist as abstract shapes in a flattened space. Like other Abstract Expressionists, de Kooning was interested in portraying nature as simultaneously creative and destructive. Although the figure is recognizable as a woman, de Kooning’s arrangement of form, line, and color gives the effect of a body coming together and falling apart.
Edwin Denby and Rudolph Burchardt; Thomas B. Hess, New York (until d. 1978); his heirs, New York (1978–84; their gift to MMA)

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. "Willem de Kooning," September 19–November 17, 1968, no. 15 (dated ca. 1944, lent by a private collection, New York City, N.Y.).

London. Tate Gallery. "Willem de Kooning," December 5, 1968–January 26, 1969, no. 17 (dated ca. 1944, lent by a private collection, New York City, N.Y.).

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Willem de Kooning," March 6–April 27, 1969, no. 17.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Willem de Kooning: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture," December 15, 1983–February 26, 1984, no. 153 (dated ca. 1944, lent by a private collection).

Berlin. Akademie der Künste. "Willem de Kooning: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture," March 11–April 29, 1984, no. 153.

Paris. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. "Willem de Kooning," June 26–September 24, 1984, unnumbered cat. (p. 62; dated ca. 1944, lent by a private collection, United States).

Canberra. Australian National Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," March 1–April 27, 1986, unnumbered cat. (p. 64, as "Seated Woman").

Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," May 7–July 1, 1986, unnumbered cat.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Willem de Kooning: The Early Years," March 14–August 14, 1989, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "14 Americans," July 16, 1990–January 2, 1991, unnum. checklist.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Willem de Kooning: Paintings," May 8–September 5, 1994, no. 5.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Willem de Kooning: Paintings," October 11, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 5.

London. Tate Gallery. "Willem de Kooning: Paintings," February 15–May 7, 1995, no. 5.

Munich. Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich. "Women: Picasso, Beckmann, de Kooning," March 30–July 15, 2012, no. 15.

Thomas B. Hess. Willem de Kooning. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London. New York, 1968, pp. 46, 161, no. 17, ill. p. 43 (color).

Andrew Forge. "De Kooning's 'Women'." Studio International 176 (December 1968), ill. p. 250 (color), dates it ca. 1944.

David Sylvester. "de Kooning's Women." Sunday Times Magazine (December 8, 1968), pp. 48–49, ill.

Gabriella Drudi. Willem de Kooning. Milan, 1972, p. 32, fig. 20 (color), dates it about 1944.

Harold Rosenberg. De Kooning. New York, [1974], pp. 29–30, pl. 35, dates it about 1944.

Harry F. Gaugh. Willem de Kooning. New York, 1983, p. 49, fig. 32 (color), dates it ca. 1944; suggests that this figure is not a woman but instead an object, puppet, or mannequin, noting the dislocated positions of the extremeties.

Jörn Merkert in Willem de Kooning: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Munich, 1983, pp. 118, 120, no. 153, ill. p. 162 (color).

Harry F. Gaugh. "De Kooning in Retrospect." Art News 83 (March 1984), p. 93, [probably this work].

Lisa M. Messinger in "Twentieth Century Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1984–1985. New York, 1985, pp. 56–57, ill. (color), calls it "Seated Woman".

Eugene Victor Thaw. "The Abstract Expressionists." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 44 (Winter 1986–87), pp. 21, 23, 45, fig. 17 (color), calls it "Seated Woman".

Sally Yard. Willem de Kooning: The First Twenty–Six Years in New York. PhD diss., Princeton University. New York, 1986, pp. 108–10, 114, 133, fig. 121, dates it about 1944.

Jenny Harper in 20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Australian National Gallery. Canberra, 1986, p. 64, ill. (color).

Philippe Sollers. De Kooning, Vite. Paris, 1988, vol. 1, p. 79, vol. 2, fig. 9 (color), calls it "Femme assis".

Hilton Kramer. "Though Exhibiting It Badly, Met Offers a Worthy de Kooning Show." New York Observer (August 28, 1989), p. 19, calls it "Seated Woman".

David Sylvester in Willem de Kooning: Paintings. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. Washington, D.C., 1994, p. 26.

Marla Prather in Willem de Kooning: Paintings. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1994, p. 82, 85 n. 47, no. 5 (color), dates it about 1944; compares it to an earlier, symbolist–inspired painting by the artist, "The Kiss" (1925, private collection).

Catherine Morris. The Essential Willem de Kooning. New York, 1999, pp. 43–45, ill. (color).

Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. De Kooning: An American Master. New York, 2004, p. 198, date it about 1944.

Jennifer Field in John Elderfield. De Kooning: A Retrospective. Ed. David Frankel. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2011, p. 103, fig. 6 (color).

Richard Shiff. Between Sense and de Kooning. London, 2011, p. 89, fig. 30 (color), dates it about 1944.

Eva Reifert in Women: Picasso, Beckmann, de Kooning. Ed. Carla Schulz–Hoffmann. Exh. cat., Pinakothek der Moderne, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen. Ostfildern, 2012, p. 90, no. 15, ill. (color).

Judith Zilczer. A Way of Living: The Art of Willem de Kooning. London, 2014, fig. 66 (color).

Richard Meyer. "Changing Partners: Richard Meyer on 'Reimagining Modernism' at the Met." Artforum (November 2015), ill. p. 143 (color, installation photo).



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