Elaine de Kooning's home and studio in East Hampton was recently designated a Historic Site by the National Park Service.Elaine de Kooning lived an exciting life marked by art movement known as abstract expressionist. At the time, Elaine de Kooning and her artist husband Willem de Kooning had been living apart for a few years. In 1943, Elaine de Kooning and her artist husband Willem de Kooning married, however this complicated relationship culminated in their separation, but they did not divorce in 1967. The painter never wanted to settle down, but in 1975 she was attracted to the property. just purchased, at 55 Alewive Brook Road in East Hampton, Long Island.
In this house he built a studio where he worked for the rest of his life. He painted rigorously in the studio, cigarette in hand, and often on a ladder, while his studio assistants rolled out large-scale canvases. It was here that he created some of his most recognizable and monumental paintings, including the Cave Walls and Cave Paintings series (1985–88), inspired by a trip to Lascaux, France. After his death, the house was owned by sculptor John Chamberlain from 1994 to 1998. When Chamberlain moved in, the house was used by painter Richmond Burton. In 2010, businessman Chris Byrne learned that the house was for sale and decided to buy it.
Byrne, who divides his time between Long Island's East End, Manhattan, and Dallas, said, “Today, Elaine's studio practice feels prophetic. We intend to continue to foster this spirit, making the space available to artists and the public, preserving the original structure and its history.” Recognizing the importance of maintaining the site and its importance to the area, two years ago Byrne started a bid to have the house listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as declared by the US Department of the Interior. This status was granted late last year; the official board was installed this month. (Currently, the house is open to visitors by appointment only.)
Byrne saw the potential for contemporary artists to awaken dormant creative energies. The businessman studied art when he was young and published an artist book called The Magician in 2013. Although he had never practiced art full-time, he had a network of artists in place and realized he could allow them to use Elaine's studio as a kind of residence. informal. The first guest artist was Jose Lerma, between the summer and fall of 2011. Since then, Byrne has hosted 28 artists, including Joe Bradley, Sadie Laska, Katherine Bernhardt, Keith Mayerson and Eric Haze, among others. In 2020, Lonnie Holley produced an exhibition of new paintings, works on paper, and sculptures, which were exhibited last year at the nearby Parrish Museum of Art at "Lonnie Holley at the Elaine House of Kooning: All That Wasn't White." ”
Currently, the house hosts sculptor Frank Benson and multidisciplinary artist Laurie Anderson, who makes large-scale paintings. Artists have full access to the property and the option to live and work on-site. There is no official schedule, no official rules on how it should work, no requirement for how often artists use the studio. During her lifetime, Elaine de Kooning never received the amount of attention or success as her husband and his famous circle did. But recent studies have redirected attention to De Kooning and her colleagues, including a landmark exhibition curated by Gwen Chanzit, “Women of Abstract Expressionism,” which debuted at the Denver Art Museum in 2016 and toured North Carolina and California. After the publication of Gabriel's Ninth Street Women in 2018, which chronicled the contributions of Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner and Joan Mitchell, the market bore more fruit. One of Kooning's "Rock Paintings" from Alewive Studio, Red Bison/Blue Horse (1985/86), sold in March 2021 for $562,500, a new artist record. Hartigan's early November (1959) grossed $1.4 million in May 2022, while Mitchell's Blueberry (1969) grossed $16.6 million in May 2018. Although de Kooning's prices remain lower than those of some of her peers, her vision lives on through the hands of others, now with artists in the studio she built for herself. Thanks to Byrne's efforts, Elaine de Kooning's creative space is now visible to everyone who passes by.