The grand finale of our summer programme in the Hamptons was a private visit to the splendid Elaine de Kooning House in East Hampton.
In 1975, Elaine de Kooning reconciled with Willem and purchased the house on Alewive Brook Road. She added the studio three years later and created her last important bodies of work -- the Cave Walls and Cave Paintings (1985-88). She also painted the commissioned portrait of the Brazilian soccer player Pele, and according to her assistant from that time, Barry Gordy’s portrait was completed in the studio as well.
Members revelled in the opportunity to come in such close contact with the former living and working space of de Kooning, a great in the field of Abstract Expressionism and Figurative Expressionism and a revered writer who even served as an editorial associate for Art News magazine.
And as if there wasn't already enough to see, our members were able to witness the unveiling of the maquette of Frank Benson's sculpture The Cyclist (2023), a moment enjoyed exclusively by The Cultivist. Benson was previously an artist-in-residence at the Elaine de Kooning House in 2021 and is part of an alumni list that also includes Laurie Anderson, Joe Bradley, Katherine Bernhardt, Keith Mayerson, and Lonnie Holley, among others.
It was a timely tour as the Elaine de Kooning House and Studio was just placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior in 2022. The residence is also an affiliate member of Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
We expect the coveted space to continue as a must-visit art destination in New York under the ownership of Chris Byrne, who led our tour and acquired the Elaine de Kooning House in 2010.