Willem de Kooning

American, b. the Netherlands
(1904–1998)

Untitled

c.1966

Oil on newspaper mounted on board

Gift of Elinor Gollay from the Benjamin Gollay Collection

2015.22

Dedicated to the collector and his wife Jean Gollay, this painting has its roots in de Kooning’s famous “Women” series.  He was a key figure of Abstract Expressionism, but unlike many of his peers, he maintained a figurative element in his work. He once famously stated that “flesh is the reason oil paint was invented.”

The Woman series represents embodiments of archetypal females, from the Venus of Willendorf to Rubens’ fleshy nudes. This work also contains more timely references. De Kooning would often place newsprint over his paintings at night, to slow the drying process so that he could continue to rework his paint. Here, the newsprint becomes part of the painting: the most visible sections of the newspaper advertise secretarial “Gal Friday” jobs from the classifieds section.

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