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Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning, The Privileged (Untitled XX), 1985 Oil on canvas, 70 × 80 inches (177.8 × 203.2 cm)© 2013 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo by Tim Nighswander/IMAGING4ART

Willem de Kooning, The Privileged (Untitled XX), 1985

Oil on canvas, 70 × 80 inches (177.8 × 203.2 cm)
© 2013 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo by Tim Nighswander/IMAGING4ART

Willem de Kooning, Untitled, 1987 Oil on canvas, 77 × 88 inches (195.6 × 223.5 cm)

Willem de Kooning, Untitled, 1987

Oil on canvas, 77 × 88 inches (195.6 × 223.5 cm)

About

If I stretch my arms next to the rest of myself and wonder where my fingers are—that is all the space I need as a painter.
—Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning (1904–1997) was a first-generation member of the New York School, a group of American artists who rose to prominence in the mid- to late 1940s and were noted for their dynamic, “allover” approach to abstract painting. Over a career that spanned seven decades, de Kooning’s singular contributions to abstraction and figuration set him apart from his peers, and his influence drastically shifted the direction of postwar American painting.

Born on April 24, 1904, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, de Kooning enrolled at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques at the age of thirteen, while simultaneously working as an apprentice at a commercial and decorative arts firm. He studied drawing at the academy in the evenings, and at the design firm he learned about decorative painting, creating marble and wood-grain patterns, as well as lettering. This multifaceted education equipped him with a unique skill set that would inform his mature art. In 1926 he arrived in the United States, having stowed away on a British freighter, and settled in New York the following year. It was there, on the opposite side of the Atlantic, that he would first encounter European modernism in depth, prompting him to make still lifes inspired by Henri Matisse. He would also soon meet artists Stuart Davis, Arshile Gorky, and John Graham, who would become close friends. In 1935 de Kooning joined the Federal Art Project, part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The experience led him to pursue painting full time. In these early years in New York, his work fluctuated between biomorphic abstraction and more traditional depictions of the figure, from Depression-era men to classical portraits of his wife, the former Elaine Fried, an artist he married in 1943. This seamless transition between styles and subject matter—and resistance to easy categorization—would become hallmarks of de Kooning’s art throughout his long career.

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Willem de Kooning

Photo: Science History Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Website

dekooning.org

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Tri-state area of the United States

Support

Tri-State Relief Fund

The Willem de Kooning Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Teiger Foundation, and the Cy Twombly Foundation, as part of their respective COVID-19 relief efforts, have established an emergency relief grant program that will provide $1,250,000 in aid to non-salaried visual arts workers in the tristate area who have experienced financial hardship from lack of income or opportunity as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. The program will be administered in partnership with nonprofit arts service organization New York Foundation for the Arts.

Tri-state area of the United States

Jeff Koons, Sacred Heart (Magenta/Gold), 1994–2007 © Jeff Koons

Art Fair

Art Basel 2019

June 13–16, 2019, booth C9
Messe Basel
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel, presenting works by Georg Baselitz, Joe Bradley, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Urs Fischer, Ellen Gallagher, Alberto Giacometti, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jeff Koons, Man Ray, Albert Oehlen, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Mary Weatherford, Tom Wesselmann, and Franz West, among others.

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artbasel.com.

Jeff Koons, Sacred Heart (Magenta/Gold), 1994–2007 © Jeff Koons

Installation view, A line (a)round an idea: Selected Works on Paper, Gagosian, Geneva, May 2–July 27, 2019. Artwork, left to right: © Cy Twombly Foundation; © 2019 Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © 2019 The Franz Kline Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Serra; © 2019 Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Tour

A line (a)round an idea
Selected Works on Paper

Saturday, June 22, 2019, 11am
Gagosian, Geneva

This event has been canceled.

Join us for a tour of A line (a)round an idea at Gagosian, Geneva. The exhibition, which presents black-and-white works on paper spanning a period of seventy years, includes work by Richard Artschwager, Georg Baselitz, Bruce Conner, Willem de Kooning, Günther Förg, Sam Francis, Keith Haring, Christine Hiebert, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Brice Marden, Henri Matisse, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, and others. Gagosian’s Johan Nauckhoff will give an overview of the exhibition, focusing on ways in which modern and contemporary artists have explored the clarity and activating power of the simple line, mark, splatter, or stroke. To attend the free event, RSVP to genevatours@gagosian.com. Space is limited.

Installation view, A line (a)round an idea: Selected Works on Paper, Gagosian, Geneva, May 2–July 27, 2019. Artwork, left to right: © Cy Twombly Foundation; © 2019 Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © 2019 The Franz Kline Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Serra; © 2019 Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Museum Exhibitions

Works from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s collection in storage. Artwork, clockwise from top left: Jean Dubuffet, Martin Barré, and Wifredo Lam © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; Willem de Kooning © 2020 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; David Hammons © David Hammons; Paul Wonner © Estate of Paul Wonner and William Theophilius Brown, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Cecilia Vicuña © Cecilia Vicuña; Maria Helena Vieira da Silva © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: David M. Heald

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Artistic License
Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection

May 24, 2019–January 12, 2020
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
www.guggenheim.org

This exhibition celebrates the institution’s extensive twentieth-century holdings through the eyes of six contemporary artists, all of whom have contributed to shaping the museum’s history with their own pivotal solo shows: Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince, and Carrie Mae Weems. Through collection highlights and rarely seen works from the turn of the century to 1980, this presentation includes nearly three hundred paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and installations selected by the six artists that engage with the cultural discourse of their time. Work by Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, and Lawrence Weiner is included.

Works from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s collection in storage. Artwork, clockwise from top left: Jean Dubuffet, Martin Barré, and Wifredo Lam © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; Willem de Kooning © 2020 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; David Hammons © David Hammons; Paul Wonner © Estate of Paul Wonner and William Theophilius Brown, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Cecilia Vicuña © Cecilia Vicuña; Maria Helena Vieira da Silva © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo: David M. Heald

Willem de Kooning, Woman and Bicycle, 1952–53, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York © The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Human Interest
Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection

April 2, 2016–April 2, 2017
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
whitney.org

Human Interest offers new perspectives on one of art’s oldest genres. Drawn entirely from the museum’s holdings, the more than two hundred works in the exhibition show changing approaches to portraiture from the early 1900s until today. Bringing iconic works together with lesser-known examples and recent acquisitions in a range of mediums, the exhibition unfolds in eleven thematic sections. Work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Willem de Kooning, Roe Ethridge, Duane Hanson, Mike KelleySally MannMan RayBruce NaumanRichard PrinceEd RuschaCindy ShermanRudolf StingelAndy Warhol, and Jonas Wood is included.

Willem de Kooning, Woman and Bicycle, 1952–53, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York © The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Willem de Kooning, Man on the Dunes, 1971 © The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Willem de Kooning
Drawn and Painted

November 19, 2016–March 19, 2017
Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey
artmuseum.princeton.edu

This installation comprises paintings of the late 1960s through the ’70s by Willem de Kooning, on loan from the Willem de Kooning Foundation in New York. The works on view reveal the intimate relationship between the drawn and the painted in de Kooning’s practice. Some clearly were composed with the aid of line drawing. Others combine relatively thin charcoal lines and broad areas of paint, and still others are drawn from chains or clusters of cursive brushstrokes of varying widths.

Willem de Kooning, Man on the Dunes, 1971 © The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Willem de Kooning, Suburb in Havana, 1958 © The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

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Willem de Kooning
A Retrospective

September 18, 2011–January 9, 2012
Museum of Modern Art, New York
www.moma.org

This is the first major museum exhibition devoted to the full scope of the career of Willem de Kooning, widely considered to be among the most important and prolific artists of the twentieth century. The exhibition, with nearly two hundred works, presents viewers with an unparalleled opportunity to study the artist’s development over nearly seven decades, beginning with his early academic works, made in Holland before he moved to the United States in 1926, and concluding with his final, sparely abstract paintings of the late 1980s.

Willem de Kooning, Suburb in Havana, 1958 © The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Rob McKeever

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Press

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