Senior Conservator Ulrich Birkmaier inpaints on Willem de Kooning's Woman-Ochre. Woman-Ochre, 1954–55, Willem de Kooning. Oil on canvas. Collection of the University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson. Gift of Edward J. Gallagher, Jr. © 2022 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Conserving de Kooning: Theft and Recovery


East Pavilion

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In the mid 1950s, Dutch-American abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning painted Woman-Ochre, part of his controversial Woman series. The painting was eventually donated to the University of Arizona Museum of Art, where it was on display until 1985 when it was cut from its frame and stolen, missing for the next 32 years. This exhibition picks up after the painting’s momentous 2017 recovery, highlighting its scientific analysis and painstaking conservation treatment.

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