Willem de Kooning, ‘Untitled (Composition Red, Yellow, Blue)’, Christie's

Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)

Untitled (Composition Red, Yellow, Blue)

signed 'de kooning' (upper left)

oil on paperboard mounted on masonite

14 1/4 x 13 3/4 in. (36.1 x 34.9 cm.)

Painted in 1960.

Signature: signed 'de kooning' (upper left)

San Francisco Museum of Art, New Collectors, May 1964.

Paul Kantor Gallery, Los Angeles

Dr. and Mrs. Robert Kantor, San Francisco

Anon. sale; Sotheby's, New York, 4 May 1973, lot 157

Private collection, New York

Private collection

Anon. sale; Sotheby's, New York, 11 May 2011, lot 108

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

About Willem de Kooning

A first-generation Abstract Expressionist, Willem de Kooning is one of the most important artists of the 20th century. In 1950s New York, when painters like Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline were moving away from representational imagery toward pure abstraction, de Kooning maintained a commitment to the figurative tradition, developing a signature style that fused vivid color and aggressive paint handling with deconstructed images of the female form—a then-controversial body of works that has become known as his “Women” paintings. “Flesh was the reason oil paint was invented,” he famously said. Influenced by Arshile Gorky and Pablo Picasso, de Kooning was often thought to have blended Cubism, Expressionism, and Surrealism in his signature style, paving the way for generations of gestural figurative painters like Cecily Brown. Following his “Women” series, de Kooning pursued non-objective lyrical abstraction until his death in 1997.

Dutch, American, 1904-1997, Rotterdam, Netherlands, based in New York and East Hampton, New York