Things We Like: De Kooning – “Untitled VII” – 1985

De_Kooning_Moma_Untitled VII-1985


We love how this painting—one of Willem De Kooning’s last works—encapsulates all the best elements of his oeuvre. The overlapping swaths of color from his reckless 40’s and 50’s prime are beaten into submission according to his refined working methods of the 1980’s. It’s clean and simple, but not quite. There’s a tension there that keeps us looking.

What we find of particular interest is the painting’s resemblance to the bright, crisp product paintings of the Pop era. In some alternate reality, this could pass for a warped Rosenquist or a wrecked Wesselmann. Odd then that the sworn enemy of the rough-and-tumble, yet oh-so-sensitive Abstract Expressionists (i.e. Pop) ended up worming its way into the work.

Maybe it’s because he was the last AbExer standing or it’s his connection to Rauschenberg or his injection of  pop cultural or representational references, but somehow this just seems appropriate.

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