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De Kooning began making sculpture in 1969, having previously discarded the idea much earlier in his career. This sculpture is one of his largest and was modelled in clay. Because his hands were too small to work the clay in the way he wanted, he wore two oversize pairs of workman's gloves, thereby ending up with fingers five or six inches long. The increase in size of his hands allowed him to work more broadly than he would have otherwise been able. De Kooning's interest in the expressiveness of the material falls within the tradition of sculpture beginning with Rodin and taken up by Giacometti.

August 2004