Sale: 545 / Evening Sale, Dec. 08. 2023 in Munich Lot 19


Willem de Kooning
Garden Landscape, 1977.
Oil on a double page of newsprint from January ...
€ 90,000 - 120,000

$ 95,400 - 127,200

Garden Landscape. 1977.
Oil on a double page of newsprint from January 23, 1977, laid on canvas.
Signed in lower right. 56.5 x 71.7 cm (22.2 x 28.2 in).

• Willem de Kooning's abstractions are not based on what he saw but what he felt.
• He participated in the Kassel documenta three times: In 1959, 1973 and 1977, the year the work was made.
• Works by de Kooning are absolutely rare on the European auction market.
• A comparable work on newsprint from 1976 is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
• Scoring 66 million dollar, a landscape from the same year fetched the world record price

PROVENANCE: Private collection Washington, D.C. (acquired from the artist).
Private collection New York (acquired from the above).
Washburn Gallery, New York (with the gallery label on the reverse).
C&M Arts, New York.
Waddington Galleries, London (with the gallery label on the reverse).
Private collection Chicago (since 1997, acquired from the above).

LITERATURE: American Art: A selection from Waddington Galleries, London 1997, cat. no. 7 (fig.).

"There is a time in life when you just go for a walk: and you walk in your own landscape."
Willem de Kooning.

"When the light hits the ocean there is kind of a grey light on the water. […] Indescribable tones, almost. I started working with them and insisted that they would give me the kind of light I wanted. […] I got into painting in the atmosphere I wanted to be in. It was like the reflection of light. I reflected upon the reflections on the water, like the fishermen do."
Willem de Kooning, quoted from: Harold Rosenberg, "Interview with Willem de Kooning" Art News 71, Sept. 1972, pp. 54-59, in: Kunstmuseum Basel (ed.), De Kooning Paintings, 1960-1980, 2005, p. 152.

Called up: December 8, 2023 - ca. 17.36 h +/- 20 min.

The Landscape at the Center

Willem de Kooning is considered a leading representative of Abstract Expressionism and is celebrated as a key figure of 20th century painting in the United States. In Europe, however, the artist, who was born in Rotterdam in 1904 and died in New York in 1997, the wonderful depths of his creation have not yet been fully discovered. This is especially true of his work from the 1960s and 1970s, when he lived and worked - withdrawn from big city life - on Long Island, where the creations would be shaped by the elemental experience of the landscape on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean; here, to be sure, the figuration that de Kooning never really abandoned took another developmental steps: merging man and landscape, the reciprocal intertwining of body and landscape in new color and passionate gesture. Thus, the details must be seen in a wider context that connects de Kooning's biography with his most important creative impetus drivers-particularly his preoccupation with landscape. From an art-historical perspective, de Kooning is one of the artists of Abstract Expressionism particularly celebrated for his paintings of women, which he had developed over nearly thirty years since the early 1940s - and not the landscape. His landscapes may also suggest an underlying tradition in his work, but they are also very abstract and sometimes reveal their source of inspiration only in the title, as is the case with the present work "Garden Landscape".

From 1963 on, de Kooning was living in Springs, East Hampton, a rough coastal landscape. Accordingly, it is not far-fetched to associate the color blue - as here - with de Kooning's landscape motifs. Even though we certainly discover this blue in his pictures of women, too, one gets the impression that the female figure acts like a landscape for de Kooning, that there is a perpetual metamorphosis between landscape and figure. Perhaps, as is the case here, it is the aura of nature but with the warm, sandy yellows, in turn washed around by the intense blues. "I go to Louse Point, a beautiful beach on Long Island Sound, where the water is calm, not a wild ocean. I think about it. The water reflects, but I reflect on the water." (quoted from David Anfam, Willem de Kooning: Garden in Delft: Landscapes, New York 2006) Does this landscape tells us anything about flowing water?

As early as 1959, de Kooning spent his summers in the East Hamptons, escaping the noisy urban Manhattan - like his contemporaries Jackson Pollock and Arshile Gorky, who had also moved to the countryside. In 1963, he left New York for good and settled in the light-flooded, quiet atmosphere of the coastal region of the Hamptons. After he had been occupied solely with sculpture and graphic art between 1969 and 1975, he returned to painting in 1975. The light of the ocean, the vegetation and the play of light on the long sandy beaches unleashed a new painterly power and virtuosity in Willem de Kooning. The paintings created in the East Hamptons between 1975 and 1978, are among the most sought-after in the artist's oeuvre today.

Colorful transformation of the landscape
It can be assumed that de Kooning bases the painting on an actual landscape, which then appears as a result of associations in colored layers and asks the viewer to arrange the pictorial elements for himself and to bind them into a whole: The strong, dark blue color in the upper half of the painting, which is balanced by an underlying field of yellow-ochre with red gestures and brown brush marks, in order to sense the compositional character of these landscapes in contemplative observation. It can be assumed that de Kooning insisted on a transformation of reality, however, in doing so he does not so much mean the abstraction of what he sees but the account of the sensation in his painting. Certainly, some vague form of beach can be associated with the blue color value 'sky' and the color field below it, but more in the sense of an emotional and highly subjective association. And, of course, this landscape was also created with de Kooning's typical strong brushstroke rhythm. A painterly gesture that even in this relatively small composition shows the expansive stroke characteristic of him.

Landscapes by de Kooning are characterized by an expressive painting style and high degree of gestural abstraction. Sometimes, as is the case in the present work, the titles help the viewer to approach his impulses and the landscape begins to form in the mind's eye. And furthermore: Willem de Kooning paints this landscape on a double page of the New York Times from Sunday, January 23, 1977, which doesn’t tell us anything about the exact date of origin. [MvL]


Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Willem de Kooning "Garden Landscape"
This lot can be subjected to differential taxation plus a 7% import tax levy (saving approx. 5 % compared to regular taxation) or regular taxation, artist‘s resale right compensation is due.

Differential taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 32 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 27 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 22 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 27 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 21% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 15% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The statutory VAT of currently 19 % is levied to the sum of hammer price and premium. As an exception, the reduced VAT of 7 % is added for printed books.

We kindly ask you to notify us before invoicing if you wish to be subject to regular taxation.

Calculation of artist‘s resale right compensation:
For works by living artists, or by artists who died less than 70 years ago, a artist‘s resale right compensation is levied in accordance with Section 26 UrhG:
4 % of hammer price from 400.00 euros up to 50,000 euros,
another 3 % of the hammer price from 50,000.01 to 200,000 euros,
another 1 % for the part of the sales proceeds from 200,000.01 to 350,000 euros,
another 0.5 % for the part of the sale proceeds from 350,000.01 to 500,000 euros and
another 0.25 % of the hammer price over 500,000 euros.
The maximum total of the resale right fee is EUR 12,500.

The artist‘s resale right compensation is VAT-exempt.