Willem de Kooning’s heirs are selling one of his very few sculptures, and one of his most famous, at Christie’s this November. The work carries what is quickly becoming the new price point for a classic piece of 20th Century art: $25-35m:
When “Clamdigger,” one of his best-known bronze sculptures, comes up for sale at Christie’s on Nov. 12, it will be a test of whether that freshness has endured.
Executed in 1972, while he was living and working in the Springs on the eastern end of Long Island, the work was inspired by the clam diggers he would see working on the beach every day. And this sculpture — one of 25 he created from 1969 to 1974 — is his only full-size male figure. […] What makes this particular “Clamdigger” special is that the artist had kept it for himself, placing it at the entrance to his studio as if it were a mirror into his soul.
When he died in 1997, his daughter, Lisa de Kooning, inherited the sculpture. She died two years ago, and it became part of a trust for the benefit of her three daughters, who decided to sell “Clamdigger” to pay taxes on their mother’s estate.
For Sale: The First Artwork de Kooning Saw Every Workday (NYTimes.com)