Willem de Kooning

Nude Figure – Woman on the Beach


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.”

Artist Willem de Kooning
Date 1963
Medium Oil on paper, mounted on canvas
Dimensions 81.3 x 67.3 cm
Credit line Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection, bequest of Hannelore B. Schulhof, 2012
Accession 2012.44
Collection Schulhof Collection
Type Work on paper

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