About This Artwork

Willem de Kooning
American, born Netherlands, 1904–1997

Head #3, 1973

Bronze; edition number five of twelve
49.5 x 29.2 x 29.2 cm (19 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 11 1/2 in.)

Restricted gift of Margaret Fisher, 1975.129

© 2018 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

In 1969, during a vacation in Rome, Willem de Kooning was invited by the American sculptor Herzl Emanuel to his nearby bronze foundry. While there, de Kooning began working with clay and, over the course of the next couple of weeks, made a series of small-scale figures, one of which Emanuel cast in bronze. Encouraged by the sculptor Henry Moore, de Kooning continued creating works that he called “painting in three dimensions.” The heavy, exaggerated form of Head #3 recalls the contorted figures from de Kooning’s paintings. Reflecting on his sculptures, the artist stated: “In some ways, clay is even better than oil. You can work and work on a painting but you can’t start over again with the canvas like it was before you put the first stroke down. . . . But with clay . . . if I don’t like what I did, or I changed my mind, I can break it down and start over. It’s always fresh.”

Interpretive Resources

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