by Willem de Kooning


Willem De Kooning
Oil on Canvas
205.7 x 254.6 cm (81 x 100 1/4 in.), unframed
Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund;
restricted gifts of Edgar J. Kaufman, Jr., and Mr. and
Mrs. Noah Goldowsky, Jr., 1952.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Il.

A Streetcar Named Desire
by Tennessee Williams

The exterior of a two-story corner building on a street in New Orleans which is named which is named Elysian Fields and runs between L and N tracks and the river. The section is poor but, unlike corresponding sections in other American cities, it has a raffish charm. The houses are mostly white frame, weathered grey, with rickety outside stairs and galleries and quaintly ornamented gables. This building contains two flats, upstairs and down. Faded white stairs ascend to the entrances of both.

It is first dark of an evening early in May. That sky that shows around the dim white building is peculiarly tender blue, almost a turquoise, which invests the scene with a kind of lyricism and gracefully attenuates the atmosphere of decay. You can almost fell the warm loreath of the brown river beyond the river warehouses with their faint redolences of bananas and coffee. A corresponding air is evoked by the music of Negro entertainers at a barroom around the corner. In this part of New Orleans you are practically always just around the corner, or a few doors down the street, from a tiny piano being played with the infatuated fluency of brown fingers. This "Blue Piano" expresses the spirit of the spirit of the life which goes on here.

Second Wall