Thursday, November 13, 2008


Willem De Kooning (1904 – 1997) who is widely recognized as the star of abstract expressionism entered the United States in 1926 as a stowaway on a British freighter. He was born in Rotterdam (NL) and supported himself as a house painter until moving to a studio in Manhattan in 1927.

He then started a very successful career and was accepted as a leader in abstract painting. Famous for his series of paintings called "Men" and for duplicating later on a series called "Women" de Kooning was not afraid of a certain deliberate vulgarity. It sold well anyway and in in 1983, a picture called Two Women fetched $1.2 million on auction (see previous posting).

Unfortunately it seems that his pictures do not weather the current economic storm too well because the last sale of his works recently showed a very sharp tendency to barely reached the same level than 25 years ago. In November 2008, two pictures offered in New York city were acquired well below the estimated of the auctioneer. The picture to the right called "Two figures in Devon" is an oil on paper laid down on canvas
painted in 1971 and measures 58 1/4 x 43 1/4 in. It went for $ 1.65 million vs. an estimate of 1.8/2.5 million. The one to the left called East Hampton VII painted in 1976 is also an oil on paper that measures 30 1/4 x 35 in. and was sold for 962,500 dollars vs. an estimate of 1.2/1.8 million.

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