Sotheby’s to Sell Property from the Collection of Mary Schiller Myers and Louis S. Myers Willem de K Sotheby’s to Sell Property from the Collection of Mary Schiller Myers and Louis S. Myers Willem de Kooning, Large Torso
ten undergraduate degree programs and two master degree programs. Mrs. Myers served on various councils and committees at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American
Art and the Cleveland Art Museum. Mr. Myers was also a trustee of the Akron Art Museum, and together, both were supporters of the Ohio Ballet. (Pictured: Wayne Thiebaud, Hillside, 1968, est. $650/850,000) As collectors, the Myers bought mainly through a small group of dealers with whom they had forged strong relationships. They also sought out dealers who represented the individual artists that interested them, often purchasing works near their date of execution. Although their home base was in Akron, they spent a considerable amount of time in New York and were among the first to purchase an apartment in Museum
Tower, the apartment building which is part of the Museum of Modern Art complex.
Among the most important pieces in the Myers’ collection are two works by Willem de Kooning from the 1970s. Untitled XV from 1977 is one of the de Kooning’s abstract landscapes from perhaps the most exuberant period in the artist’s rich and complex career (est. $5/7 million). Coming on the heels of a long period of abstinence from painting, the present work, and other canvases from the mid 1970s explode with vibrant color and are executed in lush, sensuous paint strokes. De Kooning began spending summers in East Hampton in 1959, following the lead of Jackson Pollock and Arshile Gorky. In 1964 the artist
permanently relocated to East Hampton, reveling in the nostalgic remembrances of the Netherlands of his youth. The ocean became a part of his daily regime and de Kooning was captivated by the spectacular light in Long Island and its effect on the reflections in the water. Executed in 1977, the Myers’ purchased the present work from de Kooning’s dealer Xavier Fourcade, in 1979. than Barnett Newman, de Kooning is the only Abstract Expressionist painter to produce major sculptures. For both artists, sculpture served to distill the most quintessential nature of their art: in the case of de Kooning, his role as a master of kinetic touch is rendered as eloquently in bronze as in oil. The present work, along with the full-figured Clamdigger and Hostess, is one of the grandest figurative sculptures created by de Kooning. Knotted, curling sinews of bronze wind themselves through the face, torso and hands of the figure, almost seducing the viewer into touching the surface and
following the muscle sense of the artist’s presence in the working of the sculpture. Total engagement with the material – with the substance in his hands – is the most striking feature of de Kooning’s aesthetic soul. When painting he didn’t constrict the paint to his will; instead the pigment flows and swirls across the canvas. The faithfulness to the nature of his material extends to his sculptures. As with Untitled XV, the Myers purchased the present work from Xavier Fourcade in 1980.