Tailgate Featured Artist: Elaine de Kooning
Elaine de Kooning 1918-1989
Elaine de Kooning was a highly influential artist during the Abstract Expressionist movement in the mid-20th century. While she was known primarily for her paintings and drawings, she was also a passionate sports fan. De Kooning was a lifelong baseball fan and had a deep love for the sport. She often attended games and painted a number of baseball-themed and basketball-themed works.
Elaine de Kooning, Basketball #1-A, 1981 Private Collection
In her works, de Kooning explores the movement and dynamism of the game, capturing the energy and excitement of the sport through her abstract brushstrokes and vibrant colour choices. Her paintings are filled with swirling lines and bold shapes that seem to capture the speed and motion of the game.
Elaine de Kooning, Baseball Players, 1953. Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia
de Kooning had been invited to travel and paint two teams, the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees. Despite her love for baseball, de Kooning was not necessarily interested in portraying specific players or teams. Instead, her paintings capture the essence of the sport itself, the thrill of competition and the joy of being a fan.
Elaine de Kooning, Casey on the Mound, 1953-80. Private Collection
In addition to her paintings, de Kooning was also an avid writer and commentator on the sport. She wrote a number of articles about baseball, including a series for Sports Illustrated in the 1950s, and even served as a commentator for a televised baseball game in 1963.
She wrote several essays about baseball, including a piece for Sports Illustrated in 1959 titled "The Most Exciting Game." In this essay, de Kooning discussed the many different aspects of baseball that made it such a thrilling sport to watch. She noted the strategy involved in the game, as well as the athleticism and skill of the players. She also talked about the sense of community that came with being a baseball fan, describing the way that fans would come together to root for their team and share in the excitement of the game.
Elaine de Kooning, Campy at the Plate, 1953-80. Private Collection
De Kooning's love for baseball was a significant part of her life and artistic career, and her baseball-themed works remain an important part of her legacy. Through her paintings, she captured the spirit of the game and celebrated its enduring appeal as one of America's favourite pastimes. Through her artwork and her writing, she was able to share her enthusiasm for the sport with others and to help people appreciate the beauty and complexity of baseball in a new way.
Until next time - Robyn + Wrigley
Telfair Museum (n.d.). Baseball Players. Telfair Collections. Retrieved May 5, 2023, from https://collections.telfair.org/objects/4610/baseball-players;jsessionid=EC87CEF25C69A315FB1A54FB122127DC#
Wikimedia Foundation. (2023, April 20). Elaine de Kooning. Wikipedia. Retrieved May 5, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaine_de_Kooning
Elaine de Kooning: Artist profile. NMWA. (2022, July 15). Retrieved May 5, 2023, from https://nmwa.org/art/artists/elaine-de-kooning/
Sotheby's. (n.d.). Elaine de Kooning Biography | Sotheby’s. Retrieved May 5, 2023, from https://www.sothebys.com/en/artists/elaine-de-kooning