Search for over 80 million sold items in our price database

Untitled XIII
Sold
Untitled XIII
Sold

Untitled XIII

US
NY, US
US

About the item

Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XIII from 1983 emphatically reveals the mature artist working in full flower at the height of his creative powers.  Onto the expansive pristine white background of Untitled XIII, the artist has floated a series of delicate lines and planes that evoke the influence of Matisse’s abstract cutouts, with their use of color as elegant contours. Here, the buoyant graceful lines of de Kooning’s abstract calligraphy are utterly sensual, and with his reduced and lyrical palette, nowhere is de Kooning’s grand ability as a colorist more poetically asserted than in these late masterpieces. The cascading lines describe a spatial openness and delicate balance that is freer and utterly confident as de Kooning literally draws on canvas in his purest fashion. Describing de Kooning’s technique in his late paintings, Carter Ratcliff observed, “Something extraordinary happens in the 1980s. Dragging a wide metal edge through heavy masses of paint, de Kooning turns scraping into a kind of drawing. A process of subtraction makes an addition, a stately flurry of draftsmanly gestures. De Kooning has always layered and elided his forms. Now he reminds us that he does the same with his methods.” (Carter Ratcliff, “Willem de Kooning and the Question of Style,” in Willem de Kooning: The North Atlantic Light, 1960-1983, Amsterdam, 1983, p. 22) Much like the late work of Pablo Picasso, de Kooning’s 1980s paintings contain the sustained energy and technical finesse of earlier achievements, returning to the grandly lyrical manner of his Cubist abstractions of the 1940s. The composition of Untitled XIII is entirely sympathetic with the biomorphic silhouettes of the black and white abstractions such as Orestes of 1947. However, filtered through the experiences and paintings of the intervening decades, most notably the sun and light-filled East Hampton landscapes, the content of the 1980s paintings has been radically simplified and illuminated, leaving behind the baroque flourishes of paint-filled gestures in the 1970s abstract landscapes to find a distilled fusion of color and line. Untitled XIII is the embodiment of the tranquility and confidence de Kooning gained through the experience of his sixty year career which was punctuated by bursts of creativity that produced cohesive and startling shifts in his aesthetic while remaining acutely his own.\nThe paintings of the early 1980s marked just such a momentous change as de Kooning, spending most of his time in the calm of East Hampton, began to paint with a new grace and fertility which he viewed from the perspective of a long career as a premier artist. “I feel that I have found myself more, the sense that I have all my strength at my command. I think you can do miracles with what you have if you accept it …I am more certain the way I use paint and the brush.” (the artist cited in Exh. Cat., Washington, D. C., National Gallery of Art, Willem de Kooning: Paintings, 1994, p. 199) This new balance and clear-eyed confidence gave birth to an explosive creative energy and vigor which culminated in a series of monumental Untitled compositions. As seen in Untitled XIII, de Kooning’s work is radically simplified and luminous, with dancing rhythms and diaphanous lines that are the ultimate realization and emancipation of de Kooning’s artistic vision. Unrestrained yet deliberate, they dazzle with musical vitality, in bold hues of red and blue, enlivened by a piquant purple, against the startling white that characterized the series. “In the 1980’s works, the essential procedures and techniques were not changed but simplified, and the vocabulary of forms was retained but clarified.” (Gary Garrels, "Three Toads in the Garden: Line Color and Form" in Exh. Cat., San Francisco, Museum of Modern Art, Willem de Kooning: The Late Paintings, the 1980’s, 1996, p. 28) These paintings boast an enlivened spirit and a new freedom in which the artist’s innate gifts for line, color and form remain paramount.\nUntitled XIII still displays the unmistakable traces of de Kooning’s remarkable touch and fluid wrist. The artist’s use of line had been ascendant throughout his career and, though de Kooning now further reduced his compositions to a few whiplash swaths, his works maintain their traditional rhythmic character and aesthetic spirit. With simplicity evocative of Piet Mondrian’s late canvases, de Kooning’s sinuous strokes loop about in asymmetrical and elegant formations. While Untitled XIII maintains the sustained energy and emotion of his earlier work, it encompasses the organic lyricism of Matisse as well as the dynamic equilibrium of Mondrian, reinforcing one of the most vital characteristics of the artist’s oeuvre: his continual insistence on invention, freedom and risk.\nSigned on the stretcher
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Willem De Kooning

condition

This painting is in excellent condition. Please contact the Contemporary Art Department at +1 (212) 606-7254 for a condition report prepared by Terrence Mahon. This canvas is framed in a metal strip frame with small float painted black. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

dimensions

70 x 80 in. 177.8 x 203.2 cm.

exhibition

New York, Xavier Fourcade, Willem de Kooning: New Paintings, Sculptures and Drawings, May - June 1984, n. p., illustrated in color San Francisco, John Berggruen Gallery, Willem de Kooning: Paintings 1967–1984, October – November 2002, p. 23, illustrated in color

literature

Art Journal- Willem de Kooning on his 85th Birthday, Fall 1989, Vol. 48, No. 3, p. 246, illustrated (the artist and Lisa de Kooning with the present work) Exh. Cat., New York, Gagosian Gallery, Willem de Kooning: The Last Beginning, 2007, pp. 58-59, illustrated in color (the artist and Lisa de Kooning with the present work) Carolyn Lanchner, Willem de Kooning, New York, 2011, p. 44, illustrated (the artist and Lisa de Kooning with the present work)

provenance

Estate of the Artist Willem de Kooning Foundation, New York Matthew Marks Gallery, New York PaceWildenstein, New York Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2003

signedDate

Signed on the stretcher

consignmentDesignation

Property from the Estate of Andrew Gordon

creator_nationality_dates

1904 - 1997


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

You may also like

Untitled XIII

Untitled XIII

Price
3,500 USD

Untitled XIII

Untitled XIII

Price
6,500 USD

untitled 28

untitled 28

Price
450 USD

Untitled - Abstract 5

Untitled - Abstract 5

Price
2,500 USD

Untitled 26

Untitled 26

Price
950 USD

Untitled No. 21

Untitled No. 21

Price
2,000 USD

Bath Series Untitled

Bath Series Untitled

Price
7,000 USD


Advert
Advert

Sold items

Untitled
Sold

Untitled

Realized Price
110,487,500 USD

Untitled (New York City)
Sold

Untitled (New York City)

Realized Price
70,530,000 USD

Untitled
Sold

Untitled

Realized Price
69,605,000 USD

Untitled XXV
Sold

Untitled XXV

Realized Price
66,327,500 USD

Untitled
Sold

Untitled

Realized Price
66,245,000 USD

Jean-Michel Basquiat - Untitled
Sold

Jean-Michel Basquiat - Untitled

Realized Price
57,285,000 USD

Untitled (Yellow and Blue)
Sold

Untitled (Yellow and Blue)

Realized Price
46,450,000 USD

Cy Twombly (1928-2011) Untitled
Sold

Cy Twombly (1928-2011) Untitled

Realized Price
46,437,500 USD

No. 11 (Untitled)
Sold

No. 11 (Untitled)

Realized Price
46,085,000 USD

Untitled
Sold

Untitled

Realized Price
42,725,000 USD

Untitled
Sold

Untitled

Realized Price
40,402,500 USD