This week, we’ve been featuring a few highlights from the Modernist Print collection in our Print Study Room. These prints are on display for a week, from 10 AM – 4 PM, during Fall and Winter semesters.
This piece by Elaine de Kooning is one of the featured prints and is a jewel of the MOA collection.
Elaine de Kooning, an American artist, critic, writer and teacher, was instrumental in the spread of Abstract Expressionism during the middle of the 20th century. A fierce promoter of the fellow artist and husband Willem de Kooning, one of the most prolific and famous Abstract Expressionists, she worked both in representational and abstract styles, often blurring the lines between realism and non-objectivity.
During the 1970s, Elaine de Kooning became fascinated with a statue depicting the Roman god Bacchus, situated in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Over the course of two years, she revisited the subject of the god of wine again and again, creating a plethora of paintings and prints based on the sculpture, including this image.
The artist reduces the cone-shaped mass of figures, who support an overweight Bacchus riding a donkey, to mere silhouette fragments. The sculptural forms are entirely surrounded by splashed of foliage, recalling both the lush garden setting and Bacchus’s secondary role as god of fertility.
Image: Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989), Bacchus (Jardin De Luxembourg I), 1977, lithograph. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.