Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel, sold to benefit the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)

Head #3

Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)
Head #3
incised with the artist's signature and stamped with number 'de Kooning 8/12' (on the reverse)
20 x 11 ½ x 11 5/8 in. (50.8 x 29.2 x 29.5 cm.)
Executed in 1973. This work is number eight from an edition of twelve plus three artist's proofs.
Pace Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the late owners, 1991
H. Gaugh, Willem de Kooning, New York, 1983, p. 101, no. 90 (another example illustrated).
J. Bell, "Willem de Kooning's New York," Arts Magazine, vol. 50, November 1975, pp. 79-81 (another example illustrated).
P. Frank, The Small Scale in Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1975, no. 27 (another example illustrated).
de Kooning: A Retrospective, exh. cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, 2011, p. 404, no. 1 (another example illustrated).
R. Krauss, Willem de Kooning Nonstop: Cherchez la Femme, Chicago, 2015, p. 142, no. 71, p. 142 (another example illustrated).
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Willem de Kooning: Drawings and Sculptures, 1974, no. 148 (another example exhibited).
Tokyo, Fuji Television Gallery, Willem de Kooning, 1975, n.p., no. 43 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Paris, Galerie des Artes, De Kooning, 1975, no. 58 (another example illustrated and exhibited).
New York, Fourcade Droll, De Kooning: New Works-Paintings and Sculpture, 1975, no. 22 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
West Palm Beach, Norton Gallery and School of Art, De Kooning: Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures 1967-75: An Exhibition Sponsored by the Mary A. Sisler Foundation, 1975, no. 27 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
University of Texas at Austin, The University Art Museum, de Kooning: Lithographs, Paintings and Sculptures, October-November 1976 (another example exhibited).
Seattle Art Museum, de Kooning: New Paintings and Sculpture, 1976, no. 22. (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Willem de Kooning: Beelden en Lithos, 1976, no. B22 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
London, The Arts Council of Great Britain, The Sculptures of de Kooning with Related Paintings, Drawings and Lithographs, 1977, no. 21 (another example exhibited).
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Willem de Kooning in East Hampton, 1978, p. 124, no. 93 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Cedar Falls, University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art, De Kooning, 1969-78, 1978, p. 46, no. 35 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Willem de Kooning: Pittsburgh International Series, 1979, p. 141, no. 124 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Gray Art Gallery and Study Center, Perceiving Modern Sculpture: Selections for the Sighted and Non-Sighted, 1980, p. 31 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Dusseldorf, Galerie Hans Stretlow, Willem de Kooning – Gemalde, Skulpturen, Zeichnungen, November-December 1980 (another example exhibited).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Willem de Kooning: The North Atlantic Light: 1960-1983, 1983, p. 111, no. 70 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Cologne Stadt Kohn and Josef Haubrich-Kunsthalle, Willem de Kooning: Skulpturen, 1983, p. 72, no. 20 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Willem de Kooning Retrospective Exhibition, 1983, p. 260, no. 276 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
London, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, Willem de Kooning: Painting and Sculpture 1971-1983, 1984, no. 18 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Willem de Kooning, from the Hirshhorn Museum Collection, 1993, p. 145, no. 48 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Seattle Art Museum, Willem de Kooning in Seattle: Selected Works from 1943 to 1985 in Public and Private Collections, 1995, n.p. (another example exhibited illustrated).
New York, Mathew Marks Gallery, Willem de Kooning: Sculpture, 1996, p. 57, no. 21 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
New York, C & M Arts, Willem de Kooning: Selected Paintings and Sculpture, 1964-1973, 2000, no. 14 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art, Visage: Painting and the Human Face in 20th-Century Art, 2000, p. 141, no. 87 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Kunsthaus Zurich, Die Sammlung Hubert Looser im Kunsthaus Zurich, 2013, p. 16 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Skarstedt Gallery, de Kooning: Sculptures 1972-1974, 2015, p. 23, no. 6 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
National Museum Oslo, Restless Gestures: Collection Hubert Looser, 2017, p. 60, no. 25 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

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Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan

Lot Essay

"It has become obvious over the years that the human figure is the real center of his art… The sculpture helps us to see this… Differentiations of contour and texture, and potentials for action, dominate. Space takes on the scale of the body itself." (Andrew Forge, "de Kooning's Sculpture," Willem de Kooning: Sculpture, New York, 1996, p. 37)

Executed in 1973, Willem de Kooning’s Head III recalls the distorted figures from the artist’s most celebrated paintings. Championed for originally having claimed “flesh is the reason why oil paint was invented,” de Kooning’s transcending theme of figuration lead to an obvious fascination in the three dimensional form. De Kooning’s Head III is part of a series of small scale works reminiscent of the artist’s trip to Rome where the artist was invited to a bronze factory. Working with sculptor Herzl Emanuel, de Kooning created these works with a figurative mindset that he referred to as “painting in three dimensions.” The exaggerated and dense figuration of de Kooning’s hand sophisticatedly takes physical form molded in dark bronze. Its molten physicality and fluid-like shape brings forward the artists’ masterful use of dimension and movement. This bronze casts fuses and surfaces, in physical form, de Kooning’s signature gestural strokes vibrantly evident in his paintings. Coated in a glistening layer, Head III reconfigures the conventional forms of sculpture while visually enticing the viewer with its external shine. While de Kooning only produced a few sculptures, the physical nature of Head III imbues the artist’s unrivaled gestural technique, and is highly emblematic of de Kooning’s renowned oeuvre and rigorous study of the human form.

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