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Artist Willem de Kooning a No-Show in Court on Assault Charge

Oct. 11, 1961 - The abstract painter Willem de Kooning (pictured) could not appear in court to answer an assault charge, his lawyer said today, because he must shut himself off from society during his work periods. Mr. de Kooning had been accused of assaulting Raymond Maurel, an engineer, in a Greenwich Village tavern last Dec. 9. The painter’s lawyer, Lee V. Eastman, asked Justice Owen McGivern to allow the artist 120 days before requiring him to appear for examination. “This is an unusual situation,” Mr. Eastman said. He explained that Mr. de Kooning, “perhaps America’s most distinguished living painter,” was “deeply involved with a new period of painting” and with an exhibit for the Museum of Modern Art. According to Mr. Maurel’s complaint, the artist was extremely drunk at the time involved in the charge. Mr. Maurel said the painter had struck him in the face without provocation, hitting his pipe and breaking his teeth. Mr. Maurel is seeking $100,000 in damages. Justice McGivern has reserved decision on the matter of Mr. de Kooning’s court appearance.


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