Edited and with text by John Elderfield. Text by Jim Coddington, Jennifer Field, Delphine Huisinga, Susan Lake.
Accompanying a highly anticipated exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, this monumental publication is the most comprehensive volume on Willem de Kooning yet published.
Featured image, Willem De Kooning's ...Whose Name Was Writ in Water (1975), from the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection, is reproduced from The Museum of Modern Art's monumental career survey, De Kooning: A Retrospective. Of the painting, Jennifer Field writes, "In ...Whose Name Was Writ in Water, the mauve brushstrokes at center right have the waxiness of encaustic. They hover over a thick, puckered passage of butter yellow—the result of de Kooning's practice of mixing his paints with safflower oil, water, and either kerosene or another solvent, which he would whip into a 'fluffy consistency.' De Kooning would have learned about the effects of mixing water-and oil-based mediums as a housepainter. This combination kept the paint wet and pliable. When it dried, it created a roiled surface of wrinkled and bubbled areas, later prompting the philosopher Richard Wollheim to liken these effects to the 'infantile experiences of sucking, touching, biting, excreting retaining, smearing, sniffing, swallowing, gurgling, stroking, wetting.'"
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
Kelly Devine Thomas
The first retrospective since de Kooning's death in 1997, it will give us our first opportunity to experience the artist from start to almost-finish.
The New York Times
Predictably awe-inspiring… In its scale, crème-de-la-crème editing and processional sweep, it's MoMA in excelsis, and for many people it will probably represent this institution's history-writing at its best.
If you are looking for something jaw-dropping, then look no further than this sprawling retrospective devoted to one of the most important figures in 20th century American painting.
New York Magazine
"De Kooning: A Retrospective," at the Museum of Modern Art, is the most piercing, inexhaustible, and relentlessly intense full-on career survey I have ever seen in this country.
The New York Times
"…the first comprehensive look at de Kooning's work in nearly 30 years…"
The Museum of Modern Art's generous, even prodigal De Kooning retrospective is the most ambitious show New York has seen in a long time - a lavish, knotty and definitive tribute to a tricky and alloyed genius.
The New Yorker
Bring open eyes and an open mind, for if you cherish the ox of any aesthetic of ideological bias, de Kooning will gore it.
Modern Art Notes/ARTINFO
"De Kooning: A Retrospective" is a superlative exhibition. (Its catalogue is equally fantastic.)
Art in America
This volume magnifies and clarifies the great exhibition's many facets, honoring the complexity of de Kooning's historical presence and his work's lasting fascination. Short essays examine various aspects of nine distinct phases of his career; to each phase is appended a detailed chronology and an analysis of materials and methods used in a single representative canvas. In his idiosyncratic syntax, de Kooning once described himself as a "slipping glimpser," referring to his preference for the incomplete or provisional information that a dynamic viewpoint affords, and this teeming book aptly provides slipping glimpses of one of the giants of 20th-century painting.
S. K. Rich
Elderfield (emer., MoMA) offers an introductory essay that analyzes early critical approaches to the artist and acquaints readers with the spatial complexities of de Kooning's paintings. Dwelling upon de Kooning's use of preparatory sketches and recycled pictorial elements, the author deflates the rhetoric of action painting that has oversimplified the artist's work. Subsequent essays by Elderfield, Mahony, and Jennifer Field offer erudite studies of everything from the WPA works and the "Woman" series to de Kooning's "full arm" "urban landscapes" and the torqued ribbons of his late canvases. This is a catalogue about biography, sources (many of them from pre-modern painting), process, form, and-particularly in the studies of major works by conservationists Jim Coddington and Susan F. Lake-materials…the many reproductions are invaluable, and Delphine Huisinga's meticulous chronologies are a boon to researchers.
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FROM THE BOOK
“De Kooning: A Retrospective,” at the Museum of Modern Art, is the most piercing, inexhaustible, and relentlessly intense full-on career survey I have ever seen in this country."
"Nonconformity has its advantages. Owing to their unexpectedness, de Kooning's canvases can appear less firmly attached than those of his contemporaries to the historical moment of their creation, and therefore more present and immediate to us many decades after they were made. Still, it will not do to take them from the race of their time—de Kooning's virtues were far from fugitive and cloistered, being shaped and having flourished within the public critical climate of mid-twentieth-century modernism in New York. 'There's no way of looking at a work of art by itself,' he said in 1959. 'It's not self-evident. It needs a history, it needs a lot of talking about…it is part of a whole man's life.'"
John Elderfield, excerpted from the Introduction to De Kooning: A Retrospective, Space to Paint.
The American Association of Publishers announced last week the winners of the 2011 PROSE awards for Scholarly Excellence. We are pleased to report that De Kooning: A Retrospective has been named Best in the Art History & Criticism category. continue to blog
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FORMAT: Hbk, 9.5 x 12 in. / 504 pgs / 725 color. LIST PRICE: U.S. $85.00 LIST PRICE: CANADA $115 ISBN: 9780870707971 PUBLISHER: The Museum of Modern Art, New York AVAILABLE: 9/30/2011 DISTRIBUTION: D.A.P. RETAILER DISC: TRADE PUBLISHING STATUS: Active AVAILABILITY: In stock TERRITORY: NA ONLY