Willem de Kooning

I knew very little of de Kooning’s work before I was pointed to research him by my tutor. In considering many of the paintings and drawings that I had access to I was struck by a number of things:-

  • How colourful his work is, and also the connection between his choice of colour and that of Richard Diebenkorn
  • There being a flavour of the work of Pollock, Diebenkorn and Rothko in the images (or a flavour of his work in theirs?).
  • The negative spaces are incredibly powerful
  • The layers add such history and density to the images.  The parts that are irradicated are as potent, if not more so, as the parts of the drawings left visible


Willem de Kooning, 'Seated Woman' 1940

Willem de Kooning, ‘Seated Woman’ 1940

Willem de Kooning, 'Elegy' 1939

Willem de Kooning, ‘Elegy’ 1939













Willem de Kooning, 'Pink Angels' 1945

Willem de Kooning, ‘Pink Angels’ 1945

Willem de Kooning, 'Attic' 1949

Willem de Kooning, ‘Attic’ 1949
























These images encapsulate the work that strikes me most by De Kooning. There is such dynamic energy to his use of colour in the first three images and all of them incorporate line and colour in such a harmonious and balanced way. I am inspired to a great extent by the negative spaces in his work, and it encourages me to remember to consider my intentionality with my work – not to make marks for the sake of it, to consciously consider the energy of the line and colour as I work with them on the page. To take back the image, to blank out and remove areas, to build up a form within many forms.  To use the page as an ongoing exploration.


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