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Willem de Kooning

Contemporary Art

The female figure was predominant in de Kooning's work from the time of his arrival in America in 1926 until the 1950s. Along the way he abandoned strict attention to the figure, maintaining, "You could lose your mind" drawing objects so closely resembling nature. In this dynamic work, part of his Woman series, the image is neither fully abstract nor completely representational. Human body parts, though discernible, are obscured by rich and frenzied painterly lines. Facial features are the artist's only concession to an identifiable figure: the mask-like face, flattened forms, and almond-shaped eyes show the influence of Picasso; fang-like teeth dominate the face. Years after de Kooning completed the Woman series, he said: "I look at them [the Woman paintings] now and they seem vociferous and ferocious. I think it had to do with the idea of the idol, the oracle, and above all, the hilariousness of it."
MEDIUM Oil on paper board
DATES 1953-1954
DIMENSIONS Other: 35 3/4 x 24 3/8in. (90.8 x 61.9cm) Frame: 2 x 43 5/16 x 32 in. (5.1 x 110 x 81.3 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed lower left: "de Kooning"
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection
RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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CAPTION Willem de Kooning (American, born Holland, 1904-1997). Woman, 1953-1954. Oil on paper board, Other: 35 3/4 x 24 3/8in. (90.8 x 61.9cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 57.124. © artist or artist's estate
IMAGE overall, 57.124_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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