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The Burghers of Amsterdam Avenue

Alternate Title
Burghers of Amsterdam Ave
Artist
Elaine de Kooning, 12 Mar 1918 - 1 Feb 1989
Sitter
(Group Portrait)
Robert Corless, 1939 - 1979
Date
1963
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 223.5 × 421.6cm (88 × 166")
Topic
Robert Corless: Male
Robert Corless: Visual Arts\Artist\Painter
Portrait
Credit Line
Owner: Private collection

This record is part of the Catalog of American Portraits, a research archive of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Permission to reproduce images (if available) must be obtained from the portrait owner. Please note that if an owner is listed above, this information may not be current.

Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Copyright
© Elaine de Kooning Trust
Object number
EXH.EK.02
Exhibition Label
For a major show of her recent portraits at Graham Gallery in April 1963, Elaine created this enormous group portrait painted with thin washes and bold strokes of bright color. It depicts nine young men, sitting and standing in a variety of poses, each with a distinct expression—quizzical, contemplative, resigned. The painting references both Auguste Rodin’s bronze sculpture The Burghers of Calais (1884–89) and seventeenth-century Dutch group portraits; its title is a witty reference to the Netherlands and to Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. Elaine found her subjects through her friend Sherman Drexler, who was teaching art at a high school connected with Riverside Hospital on North Brother Island. Critics were fascinated with the portrayal of urban youth: "Nine gaze straight out at the viewer, a salvo from the quiet ones. . . . The row of faces is like a serial number on a giant, plastic affidavit."
Con motivo de una exposición de retratos recientes en la Galería Graham en abril de 1963, Elaine creó este enorme retrato de grupo a base de aguadas y fuertes pinceladas de colores vivos. En él aparecen nueve jóvenes sentados o de pie, en variedad de poses, cada uno con una expresión distintiva: desconcertada, contemplativa, resignada... La pintura hace alusión a la famosa escultura en bronce de Auguste Rodin titulada Los burgueses de Calais (1884–89) y también a los retratos grupales típicos de la pintura holandesa del siglo XVII. Por cierto, el título de su obra explota con ingenio la referencia a Holanda en la mención de la neoyorquina avenida Ámsterdam. Elaine encontró a sus modelos gracias a su amigo Sherman Drexler, que enseñaba arte en una escuela superior asociada con el Hospital Riverside en North Brother Island. Los críticos quedaron fascinados con esta representación de la juventud urbana: “Nueve que miran directo al espectador, miradas como disparos silenciosos. [...] La fila de rostros es como un número de serie en un gigantesco afidávit plástico”.
Data Source
Catalog of American Portraits