De Kooning painting sells for €20m at auction to unknown buyer

Part of the painting. Photo: Christies via Twitter
Part of the painting. Photo: Christies via Twitter

Woman (Green), a painting by Dutch painter Willem de Kooning has fetched almost $23.3m (€20m) at auction, Christie’s announced on Twitter on Wednesday.

The painting, ‘inspired by Mesopotamian dolls at The Met and a Camel cigarette ad model’, belongs to a series of works called Women which De Kooning created in the early 1950s.

In 2006 another painting by the artist, Untitled XXV, was sold for €66.3m, making it the most expensive work of modern art ever sold at auction.

De Kooning (1904-1997) was born in Rotterdam but lived in the United States for most of his life. He rose to fame in the 1950s with other exponents of the Abstract Expressionist movement, such as Jackson Pollock and Marc Rothko.

Much of the De Kooning’s work centred on women. His depiction of them drew criticism, with some describing it as ‘macho and demeaning’ and others as ‘a ballad of sexual frustration’.

Christie’s did not say who bought the painting. A watercolour by Paul Cézanne was sold for the record amount of €28.7m at the same auction.

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