Willem de Kooning: Late Paintings

Willem de Kooning Skarstedt Gallery

An exhibition of Willem de Kooning’s late paintings including exceptional paintings created in the 1980s, during the last decade of de Kooning’s 60 year career. This will be the first opportunity to see this body of work in the UK since the solo exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1995, which included paintings from 1938 to 1986.

Characterised by their luminosity and the fluidity of their arcing lines, the bright and often translucent colours of the works from the 1980s mark a radical departure from the dense painterliness of earlier periods. Demonstrating de Kooning’s capacity for renewal, this final chapter in his long artistic career was one of his most productive and as the works themselves reveal, one of his most accomplished. As Peter Schjeldahl noted:

Unlike other recent de Koonings, these don’t appear caught in the act of tearing themselves apart… Aging has touched his art with, if anything, even greater audacity and more resonant defiance, giving new edges to a mastery of painting’s resources that remains a wonder of the world.’ 1

Pared down to essentials, the smooth surfaces of the paintings are layered with a range of prismatic colours with toned white and pastel areas. Moving from ribbons and arabesques to a spirited bold use of lines and forms that carry clarity and strength, de Kooning’s palette shifts in tandem through the decade. In many 1980s paintings, distinct abstract shapes are suggestive of an elusive figuration and landscape, with elements reminiscent of earlier decades. As a starting point and way to generate ideas, de Kooning began with charcoal drawing on these canvases as he had done throughout his career. De Kooning moved in and out of drawing and painting, making for his calligraphic and ever changing canvases.

Duration 04 October 2017 - 25 November 2017
Times see website
Cost Free
Venue Skarstedt Gallery
Address 8 Bennet Street, London, SW1A 1RP
Contact 442074995200 / london@skarstedt.com / www.skarstedt.com