View Full Version : November Artist of the Month: Willem de Koonig

11-01-2011, 01:10 PM
Willem de Koonig

This is the first time Iíve written an essay since school. Thanks for asking me to do this but I doubt it can be as good as the ones Iíve been reading. I like Willem de Kooning so thatís who Iím going to write about today. He was an important artist in the field of abstract expressionism. I got to looking into him because of a book I saw by Paul McCartney and his paintings and he said he was influenced by de Koonig
There are plenty of bios on the web so I wonít write out about his parents and childhood. De Kooning came to this country as a stowaway and lived in the New Jersey and New York city area. He painted houses to make a living. His first art was of figures and some still life work. By the 1930 he started to experiment with abstract shapes with simple geometric designs. Then he began merging the figure and his abstraction more and that worked in Pink Angels in 1945.
Hi first show was of his black and white enamel work in 1948. He taught at a college in North Carolina and at Yale.
He painted women in the 1950 which were controversial. The images made women look aggressive and frightening. There were critics who talked about Freudian themes in them.
He also painted some landscape themed works that were abstract. This is called Door to the river and a favorite of mine.

You can read about his use of color at this blog (http://inkbloodmagic.blogspot.com/2011/09/willem-de-kooning.html)



My favorite one of de Kooning: Excavation


You can add any information you have about him.

Last month (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=950226)

11-01-2011, 01:13 PM
One of my favorite painters!

11-03-2011, 01:40 PM
He painted women in the 1950 which were controversial. The images made women look aggressive and frightening. There were critics who talked about Freudian themes in them.

I looked at the images of the women and they are a little ugly.
The last two in your post are the ones I like.

11-04-2011, 12:52 AM
Funny I received the McCartney book (http://www.amazon.com/Paul-McCartney-Paintings/dp/0821226738) of his paintings for a gift from a friend and liked a few of his pieces.
[McCartney's (http://www.the-beatles-history.com/paul-mccartney-artwork.html)] works are partly influenced by the American school of Abstract Expressionists, an art form which is powerfully colorful and emotional, and free and impulsive in the application of paint. Further influences to be seen are Pop Art and surrealism. Willem de Kooning (an abstract Expressionist), famous artist, was a personal friend of McCartney's and he was the great influence for Paul. A conversation with US artist Willem de Kooning prompted him to pick up palette and brushes.

As for deKoonig - not my favorite but he has a few works I like.

I would add these links since you asked for more info to be added
There are photos of some of his work, but also of his studio if anyone is interested.
Also this brief video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6kiVI_KNTY&feature=related) of him talking about the Women series.

Part 1 of a video series
"Willem de Kooming a Retrospective at MoMA". (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S23gXv8FUfA&feature=related)

11-04-2011, 04:28 PM
I like the first image, "Door to the River", and his application of broad brush strokes in it.

11-16-2011, 01:39 PM
My work hours have been crazy so I'm sorry I've been absent. Thanks for telling me what you think about the paintings and I'm happy I'm not the only one who likes his work.
I thought I'd post some of the paintings by McCartney since he was friends with de Kooning and influened by him.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Nov-2011/204859-Father-Figure.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Nov-2011/204859-Kooning84.jpg

I like Willem de Koonings paintings because they'r
action packed
The art is in the process and not only in the finished painting.

11-16-2011, 02:02 PM
I love de Kooning too. I've been going to his ongoing exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art every weekend. So much to learn and absorb...

11-16-2011, 02:44 PM
Thanks for your essay, !Artnik. I've never really warmed to W. de Kooning's work and thus haven't investigated it much, but I'd been mildly curious about how his style transitioned from the work he's most famous for to that of his works in the '80s, e.g.:


Reading your essay reminded me of this so I did a google image search on his work year by year starting in 1965 - and discovered that starting in '69 (from what I can tell) through the '70s he painted oil on newspaper, and I think these are a pure delight. From what I can tell these pretty much all seem to be in the hands of collectors, and I have no idea how many there are. I wish there were a book of reproductions of them.

Here are some of the better images ('better' in terms of reproduction) I could find. I've left out a few that were obviously women, but they're easy to find.






fwiw, to me his style in these works looks more like that of his wife's, Elaine de Kooning, than his other works do, although maybe that could be said of some of his other work in the '70s (not all).

11-21-2011, 08:29 PM
I really became fascinated by de Kooning and his art after reading the 2004 biography "de Kooning, An American Master" by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. It was a book that I couldn't put down and I was sad when I reached the end - which is to say I recommend it :)

11-22-2011, 06:27 PM
Thank you, Wyatt for your addition to the series. In a way we received two artists this month with your inclusion of Paul McCartney.

I favor his later works with the simple fluid lines. I recall, in the book Randy mentions, the author referring to the lines in his later works as a ''Mondrian reflected in rippling water.''