Monday, December 11, 2017

Looking back at de Kooning

"de Kooning,
a Retrospective"

Dutch American Abstract Expressionist Artist Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) 
He was a part of the group of artists who came to be known as the New York School

"In 1926 the Dutch artist Willem de Kooning entered the United States as a stowaway and eventually settled in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he supported himself as a house painter. In 1927 he moved to a studio in Manhattan and came under the influence of the artist, connoisseur, and art critic John Graham and the painter Arshile Gorky. Gorky became one of de Kooning’s closest friends. From about 1928 de Kooning began to paint still life and figure compositions reflecting the school of Paris and Mexican mural influences. By the early 1930's he was exploring abstraction."  (Encyclopedia Britanica)

"The female figure was a theme to which de Kooning returned repeatedly. He began painting women regularly in the early 1940s and did so again later in that decade and more seriously in the 1950s. Often they are depicted in an almost graffitilike style, with gigantic, vacuous eyes, massive breasts, toothy smiles and clawlike hands set against colorful layers of paint." (The NYTimes)

The MoMA exhibition de Kooning: A Retrospective, up through January 9, 2012, is devoted to the full scope of the career of Willem de Kooning (American, b. the Netherlands, 1904–1997). In the show are some of the artist’s most famous, landmark paintings—including Pink Angels (c. 1945), Excavation (1950), and the celebrated third Woman series (1950–53)—plus examples from all of his most important series, ranging from his figurative paintings of the early 1940s to the breakthrough black-and-white compositions of 1948–49, and from the urban abstractions of the mid-1950s to the artist’s return to figurations in the 1960s, and the large gestural abstractions of the following decade.

The following is a short overview of de Kooning works included in the MoMA exhibition.
Woman 1 c.1950-51

Woman II

Pink Angels c.1945
Woman to Landscape
Easter Monday c.1955-56

Excavation c.1950

Gotham News c.1955

Seated Woman c.1952

Two Women with Still Life c.1953

Catalogue of the exhibition

de Kooning: A Retrospective 
By John Elderfield
MoMA's Chief Curator Emeritus 
of Painting and Sculpture

(sources: MoMA Press Department & Website , Encyclopedia Britanica, the NYTimes)

Until later, 

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