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Elaine de Kooning Self-Portrait

Title
Self-Portrait #3
Artist
Elaine de Kooning, 12 Mar 1918 - 1 Feb 1989
Sitter
Elaine de Kooning, 12 Mar 1918 - 1 Feb 1989
Date
1946
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on Masonite
Dimensions
Stretcher: 75.6 x 57.5cm (29 3/4 x 22 5/8") (6/24/13 exam form: 30 1/4 x 23)
Frame: 98.4 x 79.7 x 4.1cm (38 3/4 x 31 3/8 x 1 5/8") (6/24/13 exam form: 38 3/4 x 31 1/2 x 1 1/2)
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.94.81
Exhibition Label
Self-Portrait #3
This painting and one similar to it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City are the most fully realized of Elaine’s self-portraits of the 1940s. Its coloring is similar to Willem’s work from around the same time, but it fully asserts Elaine’s own presence as an artist and a portraitist. She has presented herself in what may be a studio setting, but she is holding a sketchbook rather than painting materials. Clad in trousers, turtleneck, and smock, she confronts the viewer directly, the hallmark of a self-portrait. The painting includes a number of still-life objects that reflect her years of intense tutorials with Willem; he compelled her to look at objects and the spaces between them to develop her sense of pictorial organization. As she recalled: "Everything was a matter of tension between objects or edges and space."
Esta pintura y otra parecida que se encuentra en el Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York son los autorretratos más logrados de Elaine en la década de 1940. Su colorido se asemeja al de las obras de Willem en esa época, pero deja bien establecida la personalidad propia de Elaine como artista y retratista. Aquí la vemos en lo que podría ser su taller, pero en vez de sus instrumentos de pintura tiene en las manos un cuaderno de bocetos. Vestida con pantalones, suéter de cuello alto y blusón, mira directamente al observador, un detalle distintivo de los autorretratos. Se observan varios objetos típicos de los bodegones; esto refleja sus años de intensa práctica con Willem, quien insistía en que analizara los objetos y los espacios entre ellos para desarrollar un sentido de organización pictórica. Recordaba que: “Todo era cuestión de la tensión entre los objetos o bordes y el espacio”.
Provenance
The artist; her estate; (Lindsay & Thomas, Inc. [Joan T. Washburn], New York); purchased 1994 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Place
United States\New York\Kings\New York