Chamberlain / de Kooning at Mnuchin Gallery

Mnuchin Gallery is proud to present Chamberlain / de Kooning, an exhibition of sculptures by John Chamberlain and paintings by Willem de Kooning. An opening reception will be held Wednesday, November 2 from 5:30 to 7:30pm.
While art historians have long noted Chamberlain’s close ties to Abstract Expressionism and the influence of de Kooning’s imagery on his work, this will be the first exhibition to focus specifically on the visual dialogue between the two artists. Chamberlain’s sculpture famously translated the energy, gesture, and action-based processes of Abstract Expressionism into three-dimensional forms. Chamberlain was deeply influenced by the Abstract Expressionist painters, particularly de Kooning. He recalled discovering a group of de Kooning’s new paintings as early as 1950 while a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, and would go on to follow de Kooning’s work throughout his career, spending time with the artist at the Cedar Tavern during the late 1950s and attending his openings at the Fourcade Gallery through the 1980s. When viewed side by side in this exhibition, the deep affinities between the two artists’ works become truly apparent.

The exhibition brings together sculptures by Chamberlain representing two distinct moments in his career. Works spanning from 1958 to 1964 illustrate the classic moment during which the artist inaugurates and masters the use of his signature medium of welded steel, including Nutcracker (1958), one of his very first examples in this medium.  The later group of works hails from the mid-1970s to late 1980’s, marking Chamberlain’s return to his use of automobile parts after a ten-year hiatus exploring other materials.

The de Kooning paintings in the exhibition similarly represent three iconic bodies of de Kooning’s late work. On view will be a rare painting from 1955, four major examples of de Kooning’s abstract landscape paintings from the 1970s, including Screams of Children Come from Seagulls (1975), in which the artist’s vibrating strokes of bright blues and flesh pinks evoke the sea, sand, and coastal light of East Hampton. Also on view will be a group of paintings from the 1980s, the final chapter of de Kooning’s career in which his richly impastoed canvases of the preceding decade are transformed into spare, luminous compositions in which ribbons of color ripple and curve across pale, ethereal backdrops.

Start Date

November 2, 2016

End Date

December 22, 2016


10:00 AM - 06:00 PM


Mnuchin Gallery, 45 E. 78 st, New York, NY 10075

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