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  • Design Credit: Samantha Todhunter Design Ltd., Photo Credit: Oliver Clarke. Dimensions: H 35.5 in. x W 24.5 in.
  • Design Credit: Lucy Harris Studio, Photo Credit: Francesco Bertocci. Dimensions: H 35.5 in. x W 24.5 in.
  • Design Credit: Timothy Godbold, Photo Credit: Karl Simone. Dimensions: H 35.5 in. x W 24.5 in.
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Willem de Kooning
Rainbow: Thelonious Monk, Devil at the Keyboard, Willem de Kooning

1976

$11,600
$18,50037% Off

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Artist: Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) Title: Rainbow: Thelonious Monk, Devil at the Keyboard Year: 1976 Medium: Color lithograph on cream wove Beckett paper Edition: 125, plus proofs Size: 35.5 x 24.5 inches Condition: Excellent Inscription: Signed and numbered 125/125 in blue crayon, lower margin Notes: de Kooning produced this work, an image of Thelonius Monk, for the Rainbow Art Foundation, a group that was started by Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Bill Caldwell and De Kooning himself, to assist young, underprivileged artists. Published by Rainbow Art Foundation, New York. WILLEM DE KOONING (1904–1997) was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and arrived in the United States in 1926 via Hoboken, New Jersey, where he worked as a housepainter. After arriving in the United States in 1926, he quickly became part of the vibrant art scene in New York, forging friendships with artists and critics such as Arshile Gorky, Thomas Hess, Robert Motherwell, and Harold Rosenberg. In 1963 de Kooning took up full-time residence on the east end of Long Island, New York, a rural location that significantly impacted his painting from that point forward.

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About the Artist

Willem de Kooning

As the de facto leader of the New York avant-garde art movement of the 1950s known as Abstract Expressionism, Dutch-American painter Willem de Kooning blended figuration and abstraction in a revolutionary manner that has resonated for decades. His best-known paintings, which were most often of women but gesturally abstract, were unique and incredibly influential at the time. Today, de Kooning is widely considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century.

De Kooning trained in fine and commercial arts at the Rotterdam Academy in his hometown of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, before immigrating to the United States in 1926. His first job in America was as a house painter in New Jersey, and the period left an indelible impression on him as he brought large brushes, loose strokes and fluid paints into his work as an artist. He also worked on public murals under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) program in the 1930s. De Kooning’s studies weren’t executed but they included some of his first abstractions, which showed the influence of like-minded artists as well as the music of the Jazz Age. His broad foundation in classical drawing and physical labor are evident even in the most abstract of his works, which amounted to a fusion of Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism.

It was in New York that de Kooning found the space and an abundance of inspiration to pursue art full time. Surrounded by prominent artists like Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, Lee Krasner and Fernand Léger, de Kooning drew from the freedom and boldness with which they all approached their work. In 1943, he married Elaine de Kooning, a versatile and immensely talented New York painter with a significant role in the Abstract Expressionist movement.

A major motif in de Kooning’s work is the deconstructed female form. A collection of paintings demonstrative of this is now known as his “Woman” series of the early 1950s, which remains controversial more than half a century later. Drawing inspiration from photography in magazines and using vivid colors and expressive brushstrokes to unforgettable effect, de Kooning depicted his subjects as grotesque, sexualized and loosely abstracted forms, which many critics deemed angry and misogynistic. But it is this very fearlessness in visual and conceptual experimentation that made de Kooning a crucial figure of Abstract Expressionism.

Today, de Kooning’s work is among the most coveted art in the world. His Interchange (1955), with its bold lines and shapes executed in primary colors, is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.

Find a collection of Willem de Kooning art on 1stDibs.

About the Seller
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