American, 1918-1989

Theme of the Bull #14

1959, oil on paper
signed E. de K. lower right
sheet: 11 x 13 5/16 in., frame: 18 3/8 x 20 1/2 in.

  • Provenance: By descent within the family of a private collector.
  • Notes: Holland-Goldowsky Gallery, Inc (Chicago) label verso.

    The Abstract Expressionist artist Elaine de Kooning had a lifelong interest in bodily movement, whether capturing the presence of her portrait sitters or the physiology of animals in motion. While teaching at the University of New Mexico in 1958, she became infatuated with bullfighting. The artist would travel six hours to see the Sunday bullfights at the Plaza Monumental in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and even likened "the muscles and bristled hides of stampeding bulls" to the Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque. On paper, De Kooning animated the ferocious energy of these events with brilliant colors and impulsive, vivid applications of paint. In Theme of the Bull #14, the bull, depicted in black and centered in the composition, becomes the focal point in an otherwise chaotic cacophony of color and movement.

    This painting was included in de Kooning's 1960 solo exhibition on the Theme of the Bull at Chicago's Holland-Goldowsky Gallery. In a glowing review of the exhibition in the Chicago Daily News, de Kooning's artist statement is quoted: "...now my colors have become claustrophobic; they want to burst the boundaries, to expand, radiate, explode - anything can happen as long as it's outward...If a bull finds himself charging through, if bull fighters wave their capes...it's ok with me...Right now, I gather, I want pageantry, splendor...clamorous color - trumpeting reds and shrieking yellows...the heraldic colors of the corrida.."
  • Condition: Overall good condition, with vivid colors. Paper slightly warped in thickest paint area. Floated in frame, affixed to backing at top corners with three tiny spots of adhesive in each corner.

    Please note: All property is sold "AS IS" and any statement, whether oral or written, is given as a courtesy and shall not be deemed as a guarantee, warranty, or representation of the authenticity of authorship, physical condition, size, quality, rarity, importance, provenance, exhibitions, literature or historical relevance of the property or otherwise. The absence of a condition report does not imply the item is in perfect condition.

Accepted Forms of Payment:

Money Order / Cashiers Check, Personal Check, Wire Transfer


A list of recommended shippers can be found on our website. Please contact the shipper directly to get quotes and to make arrangements for them to pick up your items at our gallery. The shipper should contact us to make an appointment to pick up the items and purchasers should also call the gallery to authorize release of the items to the shipper.

November 7, 2021 11:00 AM EST
Boston, MA, US

Grogan & Company

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $999 $100
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 + $10,000