Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hump Day Artist: Willem de Kooning

Today's Hump Day Artist is Willem de Kooning, a Dutch painter from the mid-20th century.  De Kooning was considered an Abstract Expressionist, along with artists like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell.  His intense color palette, chaotic brushstrokes, and emphasis on the flatness of the canvas all linked him with that group.  However, unlike his contemporaries, de Kooning never let go of the figure in his paintings.  Even in his more abstract pieces, the body can be found (compare the image above and the image directly below).

What makes de Kooning's work so inspiring is that it negates the idea that abstraction and realism (albeit realism in loose terms) are at odds with each other.  De Kooning's pieces rock along somewhere in between realism and abstraction.  Despite their traditional subject matter, the pieces were incredibly current.  Abstract Expressionist were attempting to completely break from traditional painting, but de Kooning knew that this was impossible.  He once stated:  

"Whatever an artist's personal feelings are, as soon as an artist fills a certain area of the canvas or circumscribes it, he becomes historical.  He acts from or upon other artists." -Willem de Kooning (brainyquote.com)

Check out more of Willem de Koonings's work at moma.org

Images from artchive.com, artduh.com, artic.edu, and wikipaintings.com, respectively.



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