News Articles

Willem de Kooning's painting Untitled XXV sells for record $27 million

Dutch-American’s 1977 work

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

NEW YORK, NY - A painting made in the mid-1970 by Dutch American artist Willem de Kooning fetched a record $27 million at a recent auction by Christie’s in New York. ‘Untitled XXV,’ with its dramatic and powerful colours, sparked a fierce bidding war.

The final price of $27,120,000 set two world auction records, one for the artist and also a world auction record for any post-war work. From the same period, Untitled XXIX, realized $8,080,000 while de Kooning’s superb drawing, Two Women II, dated about 1952, achieved $9,648,000, setting a new world auction record for a work on paper by the artist.

Born in Rotterdam in 1904, de Kooning as a twenty-year old stowaway jumped ship in New York, and initially worked as a house painter. He destroyed much of his early work. After the Depression, he worked for the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration, made sets for theatrical plays and created murals, among others for the 1939 New York World Exposition.

By the end of the 1940s, de Kooning had become one of the leading artists in the movement called ‘abstract expressionism.’ From then on till he could no longer paint because of advancing Alzheimer’s, de Kooning’s fame spread as one of the leading U.S. painters of his era. He died in 1997.