STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989

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Lot 4
STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING
Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989

US$ 120,000 - 180,000
£ 87,000 - 130,000
STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING
Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989
i. Sitting: incised 'AP 2/3 WdeK' (on the base)
ii. Standing: incised 'AP 2/3' (on the base) and 'WdeK' (on the wing)
iii. Reclining: incised 'AP 2/3II' (on the base) and 'WdeK' (on the wing)
each: bronze with gold patina
i. 5 3/4in. (14.5cm) high
ii. 5in. (12.5cm) high
iii. 3 3/4in. (9.5cm) high
Each work is artist's proof two from editions of nine plus three artist's proofs.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Collection of Philippe Pavia, New York (acquired directly from the artist).
    By descent from the above to the present owner.

    In Greek mythology, the god Zeus disguises himself as a swan and has sexual relations with the unattainable wife of King Tyndareus, Leda, on the same night she laid with her husband. Interpretations vary whether Leda is seduced by the transformed Zeus or if in fact she was raped, as do the suggestions of the product of their union. In some versions of the story, Leda lays two eggs from whence Zeus' two children, the great beauty Helen and her brother Polydeuces were hatched. In others, it is suggested that Clytemnestra, daughter of Tyndareus and Leda, is deeply troubled by the swan's assault of her mother. While the myth was not a frequent motif in works of art throughout antiquity, it was adopted in the Renaissance as it gave artists the opportunity to show a woman in the act of copulation without the unacceptable inclusion of a man. Adopted as subject by Paul Cézanne, W. B. Yeats, Hermann Nitsch, and Cy Twombly among countless others, the disturbingly taboo myth of Leda and the Swan is the subject of these three casts, depicting the aggressor swan in different stages of the forced sexual act.

    Leda and the Swan

    "A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
    Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
    By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
    He holds her helpless breast upon his breast

    How can those terrified vague fingers push
    The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
    And how can body, laid in that white rush,
    But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

    A shudder in the loins engenders there
    The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
    And Agamemnon dead.
    Being so caught up,
    So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
    Did she put on his knowledge with his power
    Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?"

    - William Butler Yeats
Contacts
STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989
STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989
STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989
STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989
STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989
STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989
STUDIO OF WILLEM DE KOONING Leda and the Swan: Sitting, Standing and Reclining, 1989
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