Elaine de Kooning Paints a Portrait

Elaine de Kooning

Betty Jean Thiebaud,  17:41 min
Digitized from original 1976 16mm color film
Saturday, May 5th, 6pm

Greenpoint Film Festival 2014 Buy Tickets

“I almost feel my portraits— portraits I’ve made—are now invading my privacy. When I have them around—to have all these people looking at me—it’s oppressive, and I always find portraits oppressive. But I find them, well, fascinating.”

Elaine de Kooning was an accomplished landscape and portrait expressionist artist  active in the Abstract Expressionist movement of the early twentieth century. She was a member of the Eighth Street Club (the Club) in New York City.] The Club functioned as a space to discuss ideas. Among this group of artists were Willem de Kooning, Jimmy Rosati, Giorgio Spaventi, Milton Resnick, Pat Passlof, Earl Kerkam, Ludwig Sander, Angelo Ippolito, Franz Kline, Clyfford Still, and Hans Hofmann. A membership position for a woman was rare at this time.

In filmmaker Betty Jean Thiebaud’s own portrait of the artist, the film she de Kooning discusses her work as she paints a new portrait of her friend and fellow artist, Aristodimis Kaldis. Over de Kooning’s musings on Rembrandt, conceptual art, and experience vs. ideas in the artistic process, Thiebaud observes her in her studio, working briskly but with care and method, and in constant dialogue with her cohorts.