In the fall of 1958, Elaine de Kooning took a teaching position at the University of New Mexico and it was love at first sight. After the urban life and gray of New York City, she was dazzled by the colors of the west. In a letter dated November 3, 1958 to the artist Philip Pavia, Elaine says she had finished “three good paintings”. She helped spread the word about Pavia’s art publication "It is", a magazine for abstract art.
During her stay there, she met with Georgia O’Keeffe and later declared that she was not a fan of her work but “admired her as a personality”.
Grace Hartigan once declared that Elaine was her hero, and here refers to the lucky students.
Elaine became friends with writer Margaret Randall, who was then a model. Randall was a fan of bullfights and took Elaine on several trips to Mexico. It became the source of inspiration for her bullfight paintings which are among her most famous works.
Source: A generous vision, The creative Life of Elaine de Kooning, Cathy Curtis
Ninth Street Women, Mary Gabriel
Elaine and New Mexico, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11" (36 x 28 cm)