15 februari 2018

Willem de Kooning #19

De Kooning's easel, with work in progress.

Zie ook de foto's bij de post van 9 november 2012 en de post van 16 februari 2015 (hk).

De Kooning's work space, with Pink Angels on the right.

Zie ook de foto bij de post van 9 november 2012 (hk).

The "bedroom area" of de Kooning's studio.

In 1946, Willem de Kooning moved into just such a space at 85 Fourth Avenue. For him, it was a necessary escape from the tiny, two room apartment he shared with his wife Elaine. Not only was their marriage beginning to sour, but de Kooning lacked the space and privacy to make art there. Space and natural light were two things the Fourth Avenue studio had in abundance. When it came to other amenities, however, such as heat, hot water, a bathroom and the like, the warehouse-like space left a lot to be desired.

In their superlative biography De Kooning: An American Master, Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan provide a memorable description of the cavernous, comfortless room:

"According to Conrad Fried (de Kooning's brother-in-law), the space, while about a hundred feet long, was also 'cold and dingy and decrepit'. Exposed electrical lines snaked across the stamped tin ceiling. The back resembled a cave and was illuminated only by naked light bulbs dangling from overhead. There was no heat. De Kooning had to lug five gallon cans of kerosene upstairs to use in a stove he installed. There was no hot water and only a shared bathroom in the hall outside..."

"....de Kooning, in contrast to his usual practice, did little to fix up the Fourth Avenue studio. Along the far wall, he built a kind of Dutch hutch, a wooden cabinet with two sizable compartments for storage behind double doors. Otherwise, he had only a table, a cheap spindle-backed chair, and along the opposite wall from his easel, a cot. He placed a folding chair by the cot to hold his coffee cup and ashtray. That, plus a small bureau and table to hold his paints and brushes, was it."
(bron: ineedartandcoffee, foto's: Harry Bowden)

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