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Willem de Kooning

/Works and biography

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Nude Figure – Woman on the Beach, 1963
Oil on paper, mounted on canvas, 81.3 x 67.3 cm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection, bequest of Hannelore B. Schulhof, 2012
2012.44
© The Willem de Kooning Foundation, New York, by SIAE 2012


When in June 1963 de Kooning settled permanently in the Springs, Long Island, he returned to the depiction of women, a theme that had preoccupied him as early as 1938. The beach, one of Long Island’s commonplaces, where de Kooning sometimes went clam-digging, was his inspiration. He observed female figures walking or sitting on the sand, or wading in water. The atmosphere filled with shimmering light dematerializes the figure, rendering it fluid, unstable, and floating, like a reflection in the water. Through the vigorous, even savage application of paint, the corporeal rawness of the nude is accentuated. De Kooning once said that “Flesh is the reason oil paint was invented.”

credits: Hangar Design Group