Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, New York, will exhibit a range of important works at Art Basel, Switzerland, June 19-22, including two exceptional, rare paintings, Woman (Arthur’s Woman), 1969, by Willem de Kooning and 20 Pink Maos, 1979, by Andy Warhol. In addition, the gallery will present significant paintings by Ed Ruscha, Jean Paul Riopelle, and Alex Katz, among others.
Willem de Kooning’s lushly painted canvas, Woman (Arthur’s Woman), 1969, exemplifies the artist’s vibrant and complex work of this period. Art historian Carla Schulz-Hoffmann discusses both the significance of the “Woman” series in de Kooning’s oeuvre and in particular this painting, remarking that “these are the paintings that became the benchmark by which to judge their creator’s inventiveness and independence.” Figure and landscape become one in a loosely painted, dynamic vortex in the top half of the painting, while the bottom half is dominated by the legs stamping out staccato rhythms. Characteristically, densely painted areas of the canvas vary with sections that have been scraped down to reveal underlying layers of color. The whole communicates the vitality, energy and fecundity that captivated de Kooning at this time, when he created extraordinary works of beauty and strength, vigor and breadth.
Acquired directly from the artist in 1970, Woman (Arthur’s Woman), has been in a private collection for over 40 years. This work is akin to other works of this period that depict figures in a landscape, including The Visit, 1966-67 (Tate Gallery, London), Montauk I, 1969 (Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford), and Montauk IV, 1969 (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam).
20 Pink Maos, 1979, is a rare masterpiece from Andy Warhol’s widely acclaimed Reversals series. In this painting Warhol revisits the iconic and challenging image of the Chinese Communist leader he painted in the early 1970s. Signaling a new period of productivity in the artist’s work, the Reversals introduced a new conceptual vigor to his practice that is a departure from his fascination with celebrity and public notoriety, and instead, a reflection on his own artistic past. As art critic David Bourdon describes: "Warhol's Reversals recapitulate his portraits of famous faces... but with the tonal values reversed. As if the spectator were looking at photographic negatives, highlighted faces have gone dark while former shadows now rush forward in electric hues" (David Bourdon, Warhol, New York, 1989, p. 378). Through negative printing, he achieves a ghostly image reduced to memory value, neutralizing the power of what was once the most powerful and widely disseminated iconic image of Communism.
The gallery will also feature The Nineties, 1980, by Ed Ruscha, an epic canvas from the Horizons series painted in the most desirable of sunset palettes. The horizontal, cinematic format of the painting documents the decade through a rising timeline of the date of each year in the nineties, metaphorically marking the rise of fortunes as the years build up in the sky. The impending setting of the sun closes the decade. This painting was featured in several important exhibitions of the Ruscha’s work, including the 1982 retrospective at San Francisco MoMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Moving against the tide of abstraction in the 1960s, Alex Katz invented a new language for figuration. The gallery is thrilled to feature two early and celebrated portraits by the artist.
Here’s to You, 1961, shows Katz’s use of abrupt cinematic cropping and broad areas of color which are a hallmark of his work. The large-scale film still inspired painting presents the common subject of a young professional man in a suit. Surrounded by a uniform field of gray, the subject appears caught in a moment of muted emotion holding up a cocktail glass, representing the culture of workers’ ennui.
In contrast to the stark portrait of the executive featured in Here’s to You, Katz’s presentation of the prominent New York School second generation poet, Ted Berrigan, 1967, captures yet another type. This time, a bearded and introspective artist, with whom the artist shared a close connection. Collaborating with writers since the 1960s, Katz is well-known as a central figure in the relationship between the New York School of poets and postwar painting. Ted Berrigan is an iconic work that illustrates this friendship. Berrigan appears as a subject again in a painting in the collection of the Whitney Museum of Art and is also included in the renowned “Face of the Poet” editioned series. Candid and simplified, Katz transforms the large-scale close up of Berrigan into flat forms of vivid color that effectively capture a moment of meditation and illustrate his deep and abiding relationship with the poet.
Also on view will be a large canvas by Jean Paul Riopelle, a leading member of the European Abstract Expressionist movement. From his most emblematic mosaic series of the 1950s, Ombre d’Espace, 1954 is a thrilling juxtaposition of vivid reds, blues, yellows and greens in a rich, thick impasto. The painting flashes with energy, representing the dynamic action of the painter.
Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art is located at 37 West 57th Street, New York. Established in 1985 as a gallery specializing in American and European Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary art, the gallery has built an international reputation for exhibiting important paintings, sculpture, and works on paper over the past three decades.
Please contact Janis Gardner Cecil, Director, for further information: Janis@etnahem.com