Woman

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Willem de Kooning

American, born Netherlands, 1904 - 1997

Woman, 1964

  • Not On View

Oil on newsprint mounted on canvas

Dimensions: 20 × 27 1/2 in. (50.8 × 69.9 cm)

Bequest of Mary Mallery Davis, 1990.23

Despite Willem de Kooning’s renown as an artist instrumental to the development of Abstract Expressionism, he always retained an element of figuration in his work. He incorporated the figure in many works, most prominently in his Woman series from the 1950s and 1960s. When making an abstract painting, he often simultaneously worked on meticulous, realistic figure drawings in his studio.Most of de Kooning’s paintings are large in scale, which he would completely rework many times before he felt they were finished. Because he worked quickly, often thickly applying the paint, he would press newspapers into the paint to help it dry, perhaps even to change the composition. Many works on newspaper, such as this one, may be the result of this technique. If true, then this oil on paper is not a drawing but rather a combination of a type of transfer or monotype print with drawing on top. Even in small scale, it captures the immediacy of de Kooning’s gesture, and the potency of his line.

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