WILLEM DE KOONING
WILLEM DE KOONING
Untitled, circa 1965
oil on newspaper
22 x 27.5 inches | 55.9 x 69.9 cm
© 2021 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Willem De Kooning (1904-1997) was born and raised in Holland, and studied at the prestigious Rotterdam Academy of Art and Technique before moving to Hoboken, NJ in 1926 and New York City a year later. His first solo exhibition at Charles Egan Gallery in 1948 garnered significant critical acclaim, and shortly after he was awarded the Logan Medal and Purchase Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago for his large-scale painting “Excavation.” Over his lifetime, De Kooning received several other awards, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, and his works are included in the permanent collections of many of the finest art institutions in the world. De Kooning’s body of work was the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2011, further cementing his remarkable legacy and influence on the world of art.
Willem De Kooning, one of the recognized masters of Abstract Expressionism, was a founder of the New York School focused on what he termed “Action Painting.” De Kooning created art that is the antithesis of calm, retaining the force of instantaneous creation with images continuing to grow out of other images. By 1948 he had his first solo exhibition, featuring masterful black paintings with white-line drawing. In 1952, De Kooning began a long series of paintings of women; sometimes it was woman as sex symbol, other times, she is depicted as a repellent, grotesque vampire. De Kooning seemed to attack the canvas savagely, letting paint drip and dribble down the surface.
This painting, Untitled (circa 1965), is dedicated to Tiny (William Douglas) McGee (1925-1999) who was an artist and friend of De Kooning. Both artists attended the historic Black Mountain College. McGee is best identified by his early abstract oil paintings, mixed media collages, and large color field paintings exhibited in MoMA, the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and other major institutions.