Reclining Figure (1969) Willem de Kooning

photo Jannes Linders
About the artwork

Reclining Figure is one of the three statues of Willem de Kooning, who is rich in the city. It forms a unity with two other images of De Kooning: Seated Woman en Standing Figure. The first is owned by the city. Seated Woman en Standing Figure are both on loan from The Willem De Kooning Foundation (since 2005). Before that time, both images were set in Boston. In the late 60s, the painter began to experiment with modeling clay. De Kooning saw working with clay as a spatial painting. He created his sculptures, just like his paintings, in a spontaneous movement without sketches or preliminary studies. He dressed the statues with three pairs of gloves on top of each other, because he thought his own hands were too small. He did not consider modeling to be an essentially different activity than painting; he saw clay as thick paint. The working method can be read from the casting. The limbs of clay rolls attached to the kneaded torso, the cup-shaped impressions of a thumb, even the enlarged fingerprints that mark the bronze skin, are all related to the human hand. The lively dark patina with which the bronze is finished enhances the reflections on the curves of the image. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam

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About the artist

Originally from Rotterdam artist Willem de Kooning (Rotterdam, 1904 - Springs, New York, 1997) became one of the most famous representatives of the then new Abstract Expressionism in America in the 1950s. In those years he initially made large abstract paintings with expressive paint gestures. At the end of the sixties he started making sculptures. He made approximately 25 of these large bronze female figures, three of which are in Rotterdam. After his death, the Rotterdam art academy was renamed Willem de Kooning Academy in 1998.

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