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deKooning hardly ever (never?) considered a work finished -- they were under constant revision, and usually left the study when taken by his wife (estranged or otherwise). [this needs some documentation.] I’ve seen examples of the drastic changes one painting would go through over the course of a year -- that was a big nudge for my textual working process.


“So preoccupied with process was Willem de Kooning,” says exhibition curator Klaus Kertess, “that he signed his paintings only when they had to leave his studio and almost never dated them. No artist of his generation, nor perhaps of any other, engaged in and made so visible procedures of creating that were as rich, complex, playful and malleable as did Willem de Kooning.”





something I hadn’t noticed before -- (re)use of earlier works in whole or in part, or as reference:


De Kooning frequently made tracings of all or part of a finished painting. Using tracing paper and eventually large sheets of vellum, he copied various elements and incorporated them into subsequent works. The viscous quality of his paint surface also led de Kooning to place sheets of paper on a wet canvas to soak up the excess oil. He used this method from the 1950s through the late 1970s and while he usually discarded the sheets, he occasionally used the lifted image as a starting point for The Abstract Idea. During the mid-1980s, de Kooning projected photocopies of small, earlier drawings onto a large canvas and incorporated these projected transfers into separate works.


Although de Kooning’s palette and subject matter varied during the course of his career, the interdependence between his paintings and drawings played a vital role in his creative process. De Kooning, like many artists, surrounded himself with earlier works, photographs and reproductions. Scattered across his studio, they were a constant source of inspiration as de Kooning often repeated similar configurations or combinations of strokes.




The working technique used to create Gotham News has been labeled “action” or “gesture” painting, referring to the fact that the artist’s movements and creation process are clearly evident in the final result. De Kooning used a number of different sized brushes—some strokes are very wide and others are quite thin. The paint is applied in a variety of ways as well, from very thin passages to thick areas of paint squeezed directly from the tubes. Although it appears as if Gotham News was painted quickly and spontaneously, de Kooning actually thought carefully about the creation process, often stepping back to consider his next move. The role of accident was important as well, as seen in the unintended newsprint and the way in which the paint was allowed to run in a number of areas.



Willem de Kooning was always drawing, never making a drawing - “finish” and “closure” were not part of his vocabulary. He often drew on his canvas before starting to paint; in the course of his making, he sometimes drew with charcoal into wet paint; he drew endlessly on paper, with little regard for the differences between a preparatory sketch, a breathless notation, and an individual work. De Kooning was not averse to tearing up a drawing and recombining some of its sections with those of other torn-up drawings. Tearing up could be drawing. First on pieces of tracing paper, later on large sheets of vellum, he made tracings of one or another section of his finished paintings that he might wish to integrate into one or another stage of a subsequent painting. One or many of these tracings might as readily be momentarily stuck onto the gluey viscosity of a painting in process as become an independent drawing on paper.



De Kooning took an unusually long time to create Woman, I, making numerous preliminary studies and repainting the work repeatedly.
source: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=79810


De Kooning began his series of Women paintings in 1950. The first of this series took him more than a year to finish. De Kooning combined both drawing and painting techniques in his work. He sometimes cut out pictures of women’s mouths from magazines and  collaged these onto his canvases. He layered on paint, scraped it away, layered on more paint, and scraped it away again, until he was satisfied with the results. De Kooning traced parts of his paintings on paper in order to record the marks and compositions, which he then painted over. He used the tracings as guides to bring back certain lost elements of line or shape. De Kooning created hundreds of sketches in combination with his paintings.


Erased DeKooning Drawing

Of interest is RobertRauschenberg’s Erased DeKooning Drawing


http://www.temporaryart.org/artvandals/08.html - a related work, and brief interview


uh-oh. Then there are Mike Bidlo’s versions of Rauchenberg’s EDKD:



reference visual