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Pelé

Artist
Elaine de Kooning, 12 Mar 1918 - 1 Feb 1989
Sitter
Pelé, born 1940
Date
1982
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 152.4 × 116.5cm (60 × 45 7/8")
Frame: 155.9 × 120.3cm (61 3/8 × 47 3/8")
Topic
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Stool
Exterior\Park
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. Unfortunately, the Catalog of American Portraits does not always have current ownership information. Inquiries about ownership may be sent to NPGResearch@si.edu.
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Copyright
© Elaine de Kooning Trust
Object number
EXH.EK.93
Exhibition Label
Brazilian soccer star Pelé, who had retired from the New York Cosmos in 1977, sat for Elaine in early September 1982. A reporter for the East Hampton Star documented the sittings, which were held on the deck outside Elaine’s studio. As Elaine explained, "Pelé is not a studio man. Obviously his action is outdoors." She also noted, "The light is perfect today—as if it was washed by last night’s rain. And the sunlight filtering through the trees makes interesting patterns on the scene—sort of a gesture of nature." Elaine drew comparisons between her methods and that of an athlete: "It’s not just applying the paint in a certain way but it’s how fast you apply it and that is tremendously important. . . . You have to keep disciplining yourself so that you can be accurate as well as fast—Pelé understands—that’s what he’s involved with. Speed and precision are important for an artist as well as an athlete."
Pelé, jugador brasileño de fútbol quien se habria retirado del equipo de los New York Cosmos en 1977, posó para Elaine a principios de septiembre de 1982. Un periodista del East Hampton Star documentó las sesiones, que se llevaron a cabo en la terraza contigua al estudio de Elaine. Ella misma explicó que “Pelé no es hombre de estar en un estudio. Su campo de acción es al aire libre”, y luego añadió: “La luz de hoy es perfecta, como si la lluvia de anoche la hubiera lavado. Y el sol que se filtra por entre los árboles forma patrones interesantes en la escena, una especie de gesto amable de la naturaleza”. También mencionó paralelos entre sus métodos y los de un atleta: “No se trata solo de aplicar la pintura de cierta manera, sino de cuán rápido la aplicas, y eso es sumamente importante. [...] Tienes que disciplinarte constantemente para lograr precisión y rapidez. Pelé lo entiende, porque con eso trabaja. La velocidad y la precisión son vitales para el artista lo mismo que para el atleta”.
Data Source
Catalog of American Portraits