painting and photographic works

Book Review: de Kooning, An American Master

On New Year’s Eve 2009 I finally finished reading De Kooning, An American Master by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. I highly recommend this 2004 biography of Willem de Kooning, one of the giants of Abstract Expressionism.
Before reading this book I knew little about de Kooning or abstract expressionism. I recognized some of the names and styles but honestly I didn’t really get it. I still don’t know if I “get” it in totality but I have much more admiration and fascination for the movement. This book gives a good perspective of the entire movement in addition to an in-depth description of the life of de Kooning. I won’t provide details that could spoil the story for those who don’t yet know the details de Kooning’s life, but his story starts with growing up in Holland them emigrating to the U.S. then continues with the development of his art in New York and finally his long, brave decline. He was a complex and often troubled individual but I am left with a very strong admiration of his vision and his lifelong dedication to his art. This book has whetted my appetite to learn more – both about de Kooning’s work but also about that of his contemporaries. Again, I highly recommend reading this book.

Here is a link to another review of this book:


3 responses

  1. I am also a fan of Mr De Kooning and have read the same biography – a huge wonderful read. I am glad it has whetted your appetite, maybe try my current read -Philip Guston by Musa Mayer -much lighter in pages but just as inspiring.

    2010/08/04 at 4:06 pm

    • Thanks for the comment and also for the suggestion of the Philip Guston book. I have found the book (Night Studio: A Memoir Of Philip Guston)on Amazon and intend to order it and read it. If it is half as enjoyable and inspiring as the de Kooning book, it’ll be very worthwhile.

      2010/08/04 at 9:23 pm

  2. Pingback: Night Studio – a book review « Randall Talbot – Artist

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