The Cutting Edge: Abstract Expressionist Paintings by Willem de Kooning

  • May 23, 2016 16:03

  • Email
This work, entitled Two Women, is part of de Koonings important Clam Diggers series. The piece reveals his distinctive style, which embraced the figural yet bordered on abstraction.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans
Executed in 1978, this Untitled work displays the great American painter's mastery over his medium, embodying the unrestrained, visceral execution of de Kooning's greatest paintings.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

At once dominant and liberating, the work of Dutch-American artist Willem de Kooning has no equal. A leader and founding member of the Abstract Expressionist movement, de Kooning created art that stemmed from the subconscious, focusing on the spontaneous, often intense, creative process, expressing an untamed energy never before seen, or since equaled.

 

De Kooning avoided being boxed into a particular movement or style, preferring rather to focus upon the raw emotions and subjective. Upon examination, the artist’s women-centric works truly defy classification, conveying everything from intense passion and eroticism, to aggression and sheer power. Overall, de Kooning’s paintings force the viewer to confront the complexities of women in the modern world through the deconstruction and reinterpretation of the female form.

 

This groundbreaking ideology is evident in his 1960s masterpiece Two Women. A pivotal precursor to his legendary Clam Diggers series, de Kooning presents a pair of women with forms that melt into the space; their sensual frames simultaneously genuine yet ethereal. This treatment carried on throughout his career and is clearly observed in the artist’s 1979 work Untitled. Boundless, even fierce energy radiates from the canvas, as the female form seemingly takes on a life of its own with every brushstroke. Bringing the figural to the very brink of abstraction, we observe in this Untitled masterwork the womanly silhouette, alluded to via clean, bold blue lines atop a ground of fleshy pink as if to separate the expressive from the physical form.

 

Often criticized for his “distorted” interpretations of women, de Kooning had stated, “this is all about freedom…flesh was the reason oil paint was invented.” Created in stark contrast to the idealized images of women he observed in popular culture, de Kooning pushed the boundaries of figural painting to create an unparalleled body of work that forever changed the course of modern art.

This Untitled painting, composed in the late 1960s, presents a compelling intersection between the figural and abstraction.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

About M.S. Rau Antiques:
M.S. Rau Antiques has spent over 100 years earning the trust of discerning collectors world-wide. Located in the heart of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, our peerless showroom houses one of the world’s most extensive and stunning collections of important fine art by artists such as Monet and van Gogh, rare 18th-and 19th-century antiques and breathtaking jewelry, including rare colored diamonds.


  • Email

Beauty, Rarity, History: The M.S. Rau Blog

A New Orleans institution for over 100 years, M.S. Rau is among the premier fine art and antiques galleries in the world. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, our gallery overflows with incredible antiques by names including Tiffany & Co., Paul Revere and Fabergé. Our unparalleled selection of important, original paintings and sculpture spans the 16th through the 21st century, including legendary artists such as Brueghel, Monet and Rockwell, while our diverse selection of exquisite jewels, including rare colored diamonds, Kashmir sapphires and Burma rubies is without equal.

More Posts from Beauty, Rarity, History: The M.S. Rau Blog

This ivory-topped Doctor's Cane contains everything needed to make a house call.

The Un-cane-y World of Canes

  • August 26th, 2010 13:51

Canes and walking sticks, upon first mention, sound perhaps like the least interesting objects in the world to ...

Read More...
A rare and stunning Burmese Imperial jadeite is the star of this striking ring

What’s in a Name? The Splendor of Imperial Jadeite Jewelry

  • September 20th, 2010 14:55

“Gold is estimable; but Jade is priceless.”  –Chinese proverb Shrouded behind a veil of verdant mystery for ...

Read More...
Deep blue, violet and emerald hues shimmer in this magnificent ginger jar in the "Jewelled Tree" pattern with "Cat and Mouse and Copper Trees" panels

Elves, Nymphs and Fairies–Oh My!: Illustrious Fairyland Lustre by Wedgwood

  • September 28th, 2010 07:50

An over-200-year-old company finds itself on the verge of financial ruin as war rages on. It's only savior an unknown ...

Read More...
This monumental chandelier is saturated with oversized, luminous prisms and beads of fine Baccarat crystal

Baccarat…Crystal Fit for a King

  • October 13th, 2010 07:58

In response to a wealthy landowner's request to make the best use of the natural resources of the infertile Baccarat ...

Read More...

ARTFIXdaily Artwire