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Willem de Kooning

/Works and biography

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Untitled, 1958
Oil on paper, 58.5 x 74 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 158
The Willem de Kooning Foundation, New York, by SIAE 2008


Willem de Kooning, like Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell, was a leader in the development of Abstract Expressionism, an American movement strongly influenced by European Surrealist notions of automatism and free expression. De Kooning did not use preliminary studies but painted directly on the support, manipulating pigment in vigorous, uninhibited gestures, expressing his subjective apprehensions of the material world in both figurative and abstract compositions. During the late fifties he temporarily abandoned the depiction of the human figure to evoke parkway and urban landscapes in abstract terms. The quality of light and the freshness of color in the present painting communicate a sense of landscape. In the late fifties de Kooning reduced the frenzied proliferation of stroke, form, and plane to effect compositions of relative restraint and clarity. Each area of color, contoured only by the physical edges of the paint, is applied expansively. The broad simplification makes conspicuous the manner of paint application and the resultant textural complexities of the medium.

credits: Hangar Design Group