Favourite T-Shirts

63521B5A-19B0-48DA-A479-6A772F261FE8

I have a favourite T Shirt – our featured image. It’s not the slightly lewd text, nor the “End of the Pier” – “Nudge, Nudge” – humour that appeals most to me. It’s the fact that Mrs W bought it over 20 years ago in New York City and it is loved as much for the item as the thought that went into its purchase.

Indeed it may have been on impulse – she doesn’t like shopping much – but it is the expression of her view towards me as her then relatively new husband who was coming to terms with his then slightly thinning hair. It’s been worn by us both over the years and amazingly it has outlasted many branded shirts that have been worn half as much.

I like T-Shirts especially as the summer turns to crank up the heat into the early 30’s.

T-Shirts have, in my view, to deliver in two simple respects. They need to be 100% cotton – whatever the brands try to persuade you of their new wonder fabric that will keep you as cool as a Polar Bear’s backside – sorry cotton is best. It’s also needs to be slightly on the big side allowing it to flap in whatever wind is available capturing some cooling and fanning effect as it goes.

C28AFF1C-0A6F-40C0-BA6E-46EE3F89E964

For me, some of the very best T-Shirts are made by Fruit of the Loom – they are consistently good and I really respect a company that stays loyal – in the main – to the one product that they are noted for and deliver year after year. We have featured Fruit of the Loom on Aestheticons before and you can read our previous post here – Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

I really like certain iconic T-Shirts that shout loudly about your preferences. Many of you will know of my love for New York City and the iconic Milton Glaser design – I ❤️ NY – is simply, though a little cliched by over familiarity, but as valid as a tattoo.

1B59CCCA-3F4E-4920-8E45-363D80059AA3

 

Equally my London home is well represented by the shirts of the Hard Rock Cafe – again a little jaded and over-exposed – you can pick up the same shirt in London, Moscow or Marbella – but still its a cultural icon. Hard Rock Cafe T Shirt

AE449F35-98E1-4F29-B564-70249270347C

Last year I picked up on a ranking of the 10 most Iconic T-Shirts – Iconic T-Shirts    there will be those who will make it their mission – not in any charitable campaign sense but just as a bit of fun – to seek to collect all 10. Not for me, but please go ahead.

Enjoy the summer and enjoy your T-Shirts and I’d love to know which T-Shirts are your treasures!

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image credits – with grateful thanks – Milton Glaser, Hard Rock Cafe and Fruit of the Loom.

 

Advertisements

Bob Dylan

4CE72393-2899-4657-9B55-A7642DE27465

I wasn’t early to the party. It was about 1975 when my sister introduced me to Bob Dylan’s astonishingly iconic performances on music-cassette. It was a Greatest Hits Album with Dylan shot in blue in profile on the inlay card and I am forever grateful.

My sister had a small Sony Music-cassette compact system featuring a cassette deck and radio with two detachable speakers – mid-seventies cool for sure. Remember this?

48BE708A-0701-4DCF-A596-5EABD0C8788D

She was training as a Nurse in the City of London at one of the UK finest teaching hospitals, paving the way for my arrival in the Smoke within eighteen months. She is two years older, had tried Gitanes before me and she had discovered Bob Dylan before me.

The Greatest Hits album – was in fact it was the Greatest Hits Volume 2 – from 1971 and was released in view of the dirth of new material from Dylan at the behest of Columbia Record’s label boss, Clive Davis. He became of some influence over my later career in music and some time later he left under a cloud. Initially reticent, Dylan had then agreed to compile it himself adding unreleased material from the Basment Tapes era but I am getting ahead here….

Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volmne 2 – click the link below the image

C6DF9987-8A89-4254-B985-D1C910A6343C
Vol. 2-Greatest Hits

I simply don’t believe anyone who says they don’t like Bob Dylan’s songs. I love almost all. That’s like saying I don’t really like Spring or Tulips. I get that his singing may sometimes be a challenge. His voice varies hugely from the sonous and walnut to a croak but his words, his rhymes and his use of language are simply sublime. Weaving morality tales and fables with the support of a simple folk riff, a country slide-guitar, a brassy pomp or a more complicated cajun orchestration.

Dylan – together with able foot-soldiers Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen – is the Voice of several generations. From the early 1960’s and the era of the Protest Song and the Civil Rights movement, to Woodstock and to the Summer of Love – see here our previous post – Peace Sign and The Summer of Love – to later “difficult albums” that explore love, loss and religion to more recent masterpieces that dwell on death and legacy.

In 2016, Dylan became the first songwriter ever  to win Nobel Prize For Literature.

Dylan has sold more than 100m copies of more than sixty albums. He has written, prolifically, broadcasted and podcasted for years and has nurtured a diverse and talented family.

I have seen Dylan perform live on several occasions including at Harvey Goldsmith’s promoted “The Picnic at Blackbushe Aerodrome” show in 1978. I still have the poster!

CEF16074-03A0-4D52-BCD7-10F3D4B2F275

Despite at times ill-health, his commitment to endless touring – since the late 1990’s – has become an enduring legacy allowing the faithful to flock to see his performances. In the earlier years shows performances were loyal to familiar songs, more recently Dylan’s treatment of his standards, deconstructing them to within an inch of their lives, has not always been well received. I guess the master artist needs stimulation and revising original orchestrations must be a way to keep things interesting. After all they are his songs!

I was in Los Angeles in 1980 and visiting the celebrated and iconic Polo Lounge at Beverley Hills Hotel. Arriving in a city taxi we pulled towards the entrance of the hotel and there, getting into a cherry red compact car, was the diminutive and slightly stooped stature of our hero. Something very domestic, almost deliberately improverished and above all not really giving a f**k about expectation, perception or pretense. The very anthesis of the image of Californian life.

Every filmed interview of Dylan – and there really aren’t many – from 1965 in San Francisco, to D A Pennebaker’s “Don’t Look Back” – 1967 traipse around Europe – to the media coverage of the his investigature as a Nobel Prizewinner is punctuated by his well intentioned and sincere confusion by all the fuss. The younger Dylan explaining to an overly fawning interviewer, who was clearly irritating, that he had nothing of interest to share and shouldn’t presume to be able to. His reluctant assumption of the role as “Spokesman of his Generation” is just ours for the invention. His “I just set up my stall, played a few tunes and the rest is down to you” appears to be his honest belief. No master manipulator, no synical plan.

Like many have before you – can you help understand a little more about Dylan’s work by reading his own writing from the autobiographical “Chronicles Part One”? – Click the link below the image 

7ACAFC10-67AA-40C1-910A-7EBE179457CE

Chronicles: Volume One

Don’t tell me you haven’t tried! We’d all love to be able to master the riffs that make the songs sing – some will, some inevitably wont! I am one…..

156074D0-3ACB-48F5-A2EB-5BB7C6D6CE4E

Bob Dylan Made Easy for the Guitar: 1

The Music – there are sixty albums to chose from but can I suggest a couple of starting places. I’d also suggest that you don’t stream – please enjoy the packaging as well as the songs – please click the link below the image 

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

04D0E6B3-CBBA-4526-855E-70711E096F49

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Bringing It All Back Home

C35CE575-0663-4222-9E83-F116E8809F4D
Bringing It All Back Home (2010 Mono Version)

Blood on The Tracks – for me probably the Best…..

895D8001-979A-43F6-850B-EE49577B858C

Blood On The Tracks

Desire

C3FAB319-630F-4631-8511-B2EA131512F1

Desire

Time Out Of Mind

388AC8D0-40E4-4B1D-AF9D-966898234094

Time Out Of Mind

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images courtesy of Milton Glaser, Sony, CBS and Columbia Record.

Red Wing Boots

95337318-79FC-414A-A892-139200EDB327

A friend posted an image of a pristine pair of Red Wing Chukka boots to which he’d applied trusty Mink Oil to feed the leather and lengthen his enjoyment of his shoes. Another friend commented that “We become our Fathers”; as, of course, that’s what the previous generation would have, sensibly, counseled us to do – see, some of it sank in.

The first time I came across the truly iconic US brand of Red Wing was in conversation with Eric Clapton. He is known for his sartorial touches and is a very active co-owner of the Cordings business with its shops in Piccadilly (London) and Harrogate (Yorkshire). See here Eric talking about his love of the Cordings and their products Eric Clapton on Cordings

I cannot remember where, but it must have been late the early 1990’s and he was wearing a pair of favourite 875 Red Wing Moc-Toe classics. He explained they were the most comfortable boots that he’d owned and a complete favourite. So much so that in 2001 he and Red Wing collaborated on what was called the Clapton Classics Boot.

 

Red Wing Shoe Company, LLC was founded by Charles H Beckman – an already established shoe merchant – and fourteen fellow investors in 1905 in Red Wing, Minnesota.

By 1915 Red Wing were producing 200,000 pairs annually including for the military used in both World Wars.

In 1966 the celebrated artist Norman Rockwell was asked for his unique touch to the marketing – see our earlier piece here –  Norman Rockwell – “Triple Self-Portrait”

72653619-AB3C-4173-8207-48AB5962BE86

Many of Red Wings early and now heritage products stem from the boots provided to local trades including oil, lumber and mining. To continue to comply with health and safety requirements many Redwing models are made with steel or Aluminium toe-caps, offering puncture resistance, electricity dissipation and metatarsal supports.

67BC4727-70D1-41C3-B1D7-78CEB210E372

It’s clear that when you really like a brand you want to make sure you enjoy them for a long as possible. Many of Red Wing’s boots are “Goodyear” welted meaning that as the sole wears out – so long as the uppers stay in good repair – they can be resoled.

As regular readers will know that I am visitor to New York City. Whilst there I don’t miss out on a visit to Dave’s at 581, Avenue of the America (New York 10011) they have an excellent range of Red Wing boots alongside a wealth of American and American-made brands – well worth a visit. Their website is Dave’s New York

If you are not planning a trip to the US and would like to buy a pair of Red Wings we have five of their iconic models available by clicking the link below each of the following images. 

95337318-79FC-414A-A892-139200EDB327

Red Wing Mens Roughneck 2942 Copper Leather Boots 10 UK

2A2EBF66-5EF9-40BD-A0BF-02BDC35EC7F8

Red Wing Mens Cooper Moc 2954 Amber Leather Boots 10.5 UK

These are the classic 875 – Eric Clapton’s favourites. So much so that it is said that when receiving delivery of a new Ferrari he insisted that Ferrari should reduce the size of the clutch pedal to enable him to wear his favourite boots. Not surprisingly Ferrari accommodated their celebrity cient’s reasonable request!

Add a pair of Moc-Toe’s to your wardrobe – by clicking on the link below the image 

4CAF0BB8-2F04-4284-B24F-7C8E908E5797

Red Wing Moc-Toe Classic Boots + FREE tin of Mink Oil (8 uk, Oro-Legacy 875)

2BD10C4A-03E7-4FD2-BB7B-D3EF40820E6F

Red Wing Foreman Chukka Boot 9215 – Briar Oil Slick

E3A3D18F-D193-4025-BEC4-F493F84C9D66

Red Wing Work Chukka 3140 Original Boots 10

Ever wanted to know how to car for your oil-tanned leather Redwings – here is an excellent video for Red Wing Caring for Oil-Tanned Leather Redwing Boots

As a final thought you’ll need some Mink Oil to maintain that quality finish – get a tin by clicking the link below the image 

C5015036-FC09-4B82-A86A-D846A885BE8F

Red Wing Mink Oil

Image Credits courtesy of Red Wing Shoe Company LLC and Cording and Company

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Tennis Girl and Friends

Tennis Girl

It was the love child of Blu-Tack – the removable putty that could stick pretty much anything – provided it wasn’t too heavy – to a wall and UK art and poster shop, Athena founded in Hampstead (London, UK) in 1964 by Ole Christensen.

In 1969 Blu-Tack was the accidental by-product of research into creating a new sealant combining chalk powder, rubber and oil. Originally white in colour a blue dye was added to avoid any confusion with chewing gum. Around 100 tonnes a week are now produced by “Bostik” at its Leicester (UK) factory.

Athhena

Blu-Tack

Combining these two brands in the 1970’s resulted in the walls of many thousands of teenager bedrooms and student digs being graced by some of the most iconic posters ever produced.

Tennis Girl” – Taken by Martin Elliott in September 1976 at Birmingham University’s tennis courts and features an 18-year-old, Fiona Butler, Elliott’s then girlfriend.  First published by Athena as part of a calendar for the 1977 Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, then distributed as a poster, launching in 1978 and selling over two million posters at £2.00 each.

Get your own A3 framed “Tennis Girl” poster from AMAZON by clicking the following link Pyramid International Tennis Girl A3 Framed Print

God Save The Queen” by the Sex Pistols 1977. Taken from the “Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s is The Sex Pistols” was the Punk “celebration” of the Silver Jubilee. It was banned by the BBC and commercial radio in the UK yet still achieved a No 2 slot in the Official UK Singles Chart.

IMG_2945

Get your own “God Save The Queen” by the Sex Pistols poster by clicking the following AMAZON link Classic Sex Pistols God Save The Queen Poster British Flag Punk 24 x 36

Farrah” – selling a staggering 12 million copies. The original photo was shot in 1976, featuring the then relatively unknown Farrah Fawcett at her Bel Air (California, USA) home by Bruce McBroom of Pro Arts Inc. It was first published in Life magazine in September 1976.

IMG_2944

Che Guevara Red” by Jim Fitzpatrick’s based on Alberto Korda’s original 1960 photograph.

IMG_2949

Jaws” Stephen Spielberg’s 1975 telling of Peter Benchley’s story. The Highest Grossing Film of All Time – prior to the relates of Star Wars. The artist responsible for the original painting – which to this day is said to be missing – was Roger Kastel.

IMG_2946

Shaft” – Richard Roundtree starred – with a stunning Isaac Hayes soundtrack – in this  third blaxploitation movie released by a major studio. It is said to be the most popular of the genre and certainly was a commercial success costing $500,000 to make and earning $13m.

IMG_2948

Lunch atop a Skyscraper” was taken on 20th September 1932 by Charles Clyde Ebbets and depicts eleven men eating lunch on a girder during the construction of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (Manhattan, NYC, USA). It was taken on the 69th Floor.

IMG_0232

The Doors – featuring Jim Morrison – “American Poet” – who died aged 27 in 1971. It was photographed by Joel Brodsky.

IMG_0234

The Rolling Stone Lips – Mick Jagger liked the work of 24-year-old art school student, John Pasche, who accepted £50 to draw this world famous logo.

IMG_0235

Marilyn Monroe – a still from the Billy Wilder directed “Seven Year Itch” in 1955

IMG_0236

Beer – self deprecating humour was always part of growing up!

IMG_0237

Star Wars – released in May 1977, the George Lucas written and directed first outing for this amazingly successful franchise. Originals of the poster in good condition, designed by Tom Jung, are today worth $2500-$3000.

Star Wars 1

Fly United” – United Airlines spoof, 1970’s vintage, just for the laugh!

Fly 1

Athena was sold by Ole to E&O who grew the chain to sixty stores nationwide. In 1977 it was sold to the Pentos Group and floundered in 1995. It is now has a strong on-line offering.

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images courtesy of Martin Elliott, Life/Pro Arts, The Rolling Stones, Virgin Records, LucasFilms, Elektra Records, Zanuck/Brown Productions, Fitzpatrick/Korda, 20th Century Fox.

El Greco by Spike Ress

El Greco SP

Yesterday, Spike Ress, Aestheticons friend, Watercolorist and source of much History of Art, gave us a fascinating glimpse into the work of El Greco (1541 – 1614) on what is thought to have been his birthday. With Spike’s kind permission I repost his piece here.

Today is believed to the birthday of El Greco, birth name Doménikos Theotokópoulos. El Greco was born in 1541, exact date unknown, he lived until April 7, 1614.

El Greco was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. “El Greco” (“The Greek”) was a nickname, a reference to his Greek origin, given to him by the Spanish; however, he normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters.

El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice and the center of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance.

In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.

El Greco 2

El Greco’s dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century some 300 years after his death.

El Greco 9

El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism. His personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school.

He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting.

El Greco 5

In 1577 El Greco moved to Madrid, then to Toledo. At the time Toledo was the religious capital of Spain and a populous city with “an illustrious past, a prosperous present and an uncertain future”. El Greco did not plan to settle permanently in Toledo, since his final aim was to win the favor of Philip and make his mark in his court. Indeed, he did manage to secure two important commissions from the monarch: Allegory of the Holy League and Martyrdom of St. Maurice. However, the king did not like these works and placed the St Maurice altarpiece in the chapter-house rather than the intended chapel. He gave no further commissions to El Greco. The exact reasons for the king’s dissatisfaction remain unclear. Some scholars have suggested that Philip did not like the inclusion of living persons in a religious scene.

El Greco 4

Lacking the favor of the King, El Greco was obliged to remain in Toledo, where he had been received in 1577 as a great painter. He continued to secure other important commissions. According to Hortensio Félix Paravicino, a 17th-century Spanish preacher and poet, “Crete gave him life and the painter’s craft, Toledo a better homeland, where through Death he began to achieve eternal life.”

El Greco 7

El Greco made Toledo his home. Surviving contracts mention him as the tenant from 1585 onwards of a complex consisting of three apartments and twenty-four rooms which belonged to the Marquis de Villena. It was in these apartments, which also served as his workshop, that he passed the rest of his life painting and studying. He lived in considerable style, sometimes employing musicians to play whilst he dined.

It is not confirmed whether he lived with his Spanish female companion, Jerónima de Las Cuevas, whom he probably never married. She was the mother of his only son, Jorge Manuel, born in 1578, who also became a painter.

Salvador Dali by Dominic Baker

Dali 2

This week Aestheticons’ regular contributor, Dominic Baker, waxes his moustache, suspends disbelief and the forces of nature to celebrate the work of the “Man from Figueres” the irrepressible talent of Salvador Dali

Strap yourselves in its about to get weird….

Salvador Dali where do we begin – his unconventional childhood, his schooling, film and theatre, the symbolism within his many works, his unconventional relationships, his references to science or maybe his politics or religious views? All of which were possibly as vivid and vivacious as his actual works – if not more so.

Unusual by the fact, unlike so many earlier Masters, he was one of the most famous painters that was not only posthumously celebrated, but he managed to experience fame and notoriety during his lifetime. As he dominated the abstract and surrealist worlds for decades and was, arguably, the first celebrity modernist. He made modern art both more accessible and much more popular.

I think it is important to start with his childhood – it had such a profound effect on his state of mind.

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was born in Catalonia, Spain in 1904 . His would be older brother, also named Salvador, had died 9 months before. When he was five years old he was taken to his brother’s grave, where his parents told him that he was the reincarnation of his dead brother, something he later  believed!

Dali education was tumultuous. He discovered painting in 1910, having had a rather impressionistic foray into art from the age of six. Following the trauma of his Mother’s death from breast cancer in 1921, he moved to Madrid in 1922. Whilst studying at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando along with his studies of the techniques of the Dutch Masters – he was already a fine painter – he began to experiment with Cubism and Dadaism, but managed to get expelled in 1926 being accused of causing unrest.

Dali 1.jpg

In 1929, he met his future wife, Elena Ivanovna Diakonova (later to become Dali’s muse called “Gala”) who at the time was married to surrealist poet Paul Eluard. She was ten years older than Dali and a Russian. The romance drove a wedge between Dali and his father. Dali’s completion of a highly controversial religious painting, bearing the inscription ‘Sometimes, I spit for fun on my Mother’s portrait’ was the final straw and his father forcibly ejected Dali from his family’s home and threatened to disinherited him. His father’s wrath eventually ebbed and he eventually accepted his son’s lover.

In 1931, Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” (MOMA) – our featured image – was completed, possibly the most important piece of the entire Surrealist movement. The dripping clocks seemingly reject the idea of time being rigid.

With the Spanish Civil War and Second World War in the 1930/40’s, Dali moved to the US where he was an instant hit with his own style of self advertising. He met many famous and influential people including heroes, Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Whilst in the US he developed his iconic appearance with his famous moustache influenced by a 17th century Spanish painter, Diego Velazquez.

He collaborated on films and photography working with Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Bunuel and designers like Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior.

Dali and Coco

By way of payment to his secretaries he often gave them paintings, later to be worth millions.

In 1936 he attended at a surrealist lecture in London dressed in a full diving suit – symbolic of plunging into the depths of the human mind.

Dali 3.jpg

In 1937 in Paris he completed the stunning “Metamorphosis of Narcissus” that is thought, in part, to have been influenced by Dali’s recognition of the success he had enjoyed in the US.

Dali 6

The same year his beautiful “Swans Reflecting Elephants” was completed and seized by the Nazi’s following the invasion of France in 1940.

Dali 7.jpg

In 1948 Dali and Gala returned to their home on the Catalonian coast at Port Lligat where they settled for over thirty years. In 1951, the celebrated “The Christ of Saint John of the Cross” (owned by Glasgow Museums) was painted. Inspired by a 16th century sketch and his own “cosmic dream” it carries a remarkable and evocative message.

Dali 5

In 1952 Dali’s fascination with the atom and nuclear physics led to his depiction of his muse, Gala, in “Galatea of the Spheres”.

Dali 8.jpg

In 1969, somewhat curiously, Dali designed the logo of Spanish lollipop business “Chupa Chups”.

Dali 9

I will finish with the fact that in 2017 Dali is still a cultural icon; his self-portrait and his iconic moustache are now the subject of an many artists. Almost an exercise in branding, a poster boy for a whole genre with their artistic interpretations of him – it is what he represents, the avant guard, the weird, the ground breaking, the popular and, of course, the surreal.

 

Willem de Kooning

IMG_0106

Friend of Aestheticons and regular contributor Spike Ress, all the way from Utah, has posted this fascinating piece celebrating the work of Willem de Kooning

IMG_0104

Willem de Kooning (1904 – 1997)

Yesterday was the birthday of Willem de Kooning he was born on April 24, 904 and lived until March 19, 1997. De Kooning was a Dutch American Abstract Expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, South Holland in the Netherlands.

In the post-World War II era de Kooning painted in a style that came to be referred to as Abstract Expressionism or Action painting. He was part of a group of artists that came to be known as the New York School. Other painters in this group included Jackson Pollock, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, Anne Ryan, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, Clyfford Still, and Richard Pousette-Dart.

Willem de Kooning’s parents were divorced in 1907, and de Kooning lived first with his father and then with his mother. He left school in 1916 and became an apprentice in a firm of commercial artists. Until 1924 he attended evening classes at the Academie van Beeldende Kunsten en Technische Wetenschappen, the academy of fine arts and applied sciences of Rotterdam, now the Willem de Kooning Academie.

IMG_0115

In 1926 de Kooning travelled to the United States as a stowaway on the Shelley, a British freighter bound for Argentina, which landed on August 15 at Newport News, Virginia. He stayed at the Dutch Seamen’s Home in Hoboken and found work as a house-painter. In 1927 he moved to Manhattan where he had a studio on West 44th Street. He supported himself with jobs in carpentry, house-painting and commercial art.

IMG_0114

De Kooning’s paintings of the 1930s and early 1940s are abstract still-lifes characterised by geometric or biomorphic shapes and strong colours. They show the influence of his friends Davis, Gorky and Graham, but also of Arp, Joan Miró, Mondrian and Picasso. In the same years de Kooning also painted a series of solitary male figures, either standing or seated, against undefined backgrounds; many of these are unfinished.

IMG_0116.JPG

De Kooning’s well-known Woman series, begun in 1950 after meeting his future wife and culminating in Woman VI, owes much to Picasso, not least in the aggressive, penetrative breaking apart of the figure and the spaces around it. Picasso’s later works show signs that he, in turn, saw and was impressed by images of works by Pollock and de Kooning.

IMG_0111