de Kooning: A Retrospective

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9780870707988: de Kooning: A Retrospective

Published in conjunction with the large-scale, all-medium, posthumous retrospective of Willem de Kooning's career at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), this book offers an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate the development of the artist's work as it unfolds over nearly seven decades. Representing nearly every type of work de Kooning made, in both technique and subject matter, this retrospective includes paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints. Among these are the artists most famous, landmark paintings among them "Pink Angels", "Excavation" and the celebrated third "Woman" series plus in-depth presentations of all his most important series, ranging from his figurative paintings of the early 1940s to the black-and-white compositions of 194849, and from the urban abstractions of the mid 1950s to the artists return to figuration in the 1960s and the large gestural abstractions of the following decade. Also included is de Kooning's famous yet largely unseen theatrical backdrop, the 17-foot-square "Labyrinth" (1946). With lavish, full colour documentation, this volume is the most complete account of de Kooning's career ever published.

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Elderfield (emer., MoMA) offers an introductory essay that analyzes early critical approaches to the artist and acquaints readers with the spatial complexities of de Kooning's paintings. Dwelling upon de Kooning's use of preparatory sketches and recycled pictorial elements, the author deflates the rhetoric of action painting that has oversimplified the artist's work. Subsequent essays by Elderfield, Mahony, and Jennifer Field offer erudite studies of everything from the WPA works and the "Woman" series to de Kooning's "full arm" "urban landscapes" and the torqued ribbons of his late canvases. This is a catalogue about biography, sources (many of them from pre-modern painting), process, form, and-particularly in the studies of major works by conservationists Jim Coddington and Susan F. Lake-materials...the many reproductions are invaluable, and Delphine Huisinga's meticulous chronologies are a boon to researchers. (S. K. Rich Choice)

This volume magnifies and clarifies the great exhibition's many facets, honoring the complexity of de Kooning's historical presence and his work's lasting fascination. Short essays examine various aspects of nine distinct phases of his career; to each phase is appended a detailed chronology and an analysis of materials and methods used in a single representative canvas. In his idiosyncratic syntax, de Kooning once described himself as a "slipping glimpser," referring to his preference for the incomplete or provisional information that a dynamic viewpoint affords, and this teeming book aptly provides slipping glimpses of one of the giants of 20th-century painting. (Maine Stephen Art in America)

"De Kooning: A Retrospective" is a superlative exhibition. (Its catalogue is equally fantastic.) (Tyler Green Modern Art Notes/ARTINFO)

Bring open eyes and an open mind, for if you cherish the ox of any aesthetic of ideological bias, de Kooning will gore it. (Peter Schjeldahl The New Yorker)

The Museum of Modern Art's generous, even prodigal De Kooning retrospective is the most ambitious show New York has seen in a long time - a lavish, knotty and definitive tribute to a tricky and alloyed genius. (Ariella Budick Financial Times)

"...the first comprehensive look at de Kooning's work in nearly 30 years..." (Carol Vogel The New York Times)

"De Kooning: A Retrospective," at the Museum of Modern Art, is the most piercing, inexhaustible, and relentlessly intense full-on career survey I have ever seen in this country. (Jerry Saltz New York Magazine)

If you are looking for something jaw-dropping, then look no further than this sprawling retrospective devoted to one of the most important figures in 20th century American painting. (Carolina Miranda WNYC Culture)

Predictably awe-inspiring... In its scale, crème-de-la-crème editing and processional sweep, it's MoMA in excelsis, and for many people it will probably represent this institution's history-writing at its best. (Holland Cotter The New York Times)

The first retrospective since de Kooning's death in 1997, it will give us our first opportunity to experience the artist from start to almost-finish. (Kelly Devine Thomas ARTnews)

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