Willem De Kooning Drawings

Willem de Kooning Drawings

"de Kooning Drawings" (New York: Walker House, 1967)

Carol Lowrey

In 1967, Walker House published de Kooning Drawings, part of a series of illustrated books devoted to various aspects of art history.  As you can see, the cover is relatively simple, consisting of a reproduction of Willem de Kooning’s signature and the word “drawings” in the lower right.  Inside, readers are presented with facsimile reproductions of twenty-four figure drawings executed in charcoal in 1966. I’m not at all surprised that the publishers decided to do a book featuring a selection of drawings by this pioneering Abstract Expressionist.  An artist who viewed drawing as part and parcel of the creative process, Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) drew incessantly throughout his career, creating highly animated works that stand out for their spontaneity, fluidity and lack of finish.  As the art historian Paul Cummings has pointed out, his drawings were part of  “the process of evolving a vocabulary of images and strokes to be used in the paintings.  The painterliness inherent in his manner of using charcoal can be observed in the way he pushes tones and the emphatic, dark, defining lines” (“The Drawings of Willem de Kooning” in Willem de Kooning: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture, 1983, 22).  Continue reading

Betty Parsons: Travels, Both Literal and Metaphorical

Betty Parsons and Timmy, on the Beach at Southold, Long Island

Betty Parsons on the Beach at Southold, Long Island, photograph, Parsons Estate

Lisa N. Peters

While working on our third exhibition of the art of Betty Parsons (1900-1982), opening February 9, I was once again amazed by Parsons.   She seems to have lived several lives at once and didn’t compromise on any of them.  Her New York gallery is viewed today as the most important and groundbreaking of the Abstract Expressionist era.  She championed the artists she showed, both famous (Jackson Pollock, Barnet Newman, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko) and little known, with relentless energy and passion.  Friendship was important to her, and she kept close contact with her inner circle of friends; her work as a dealer was integral with her social life.  In addition to the artists she exhibited, her friendships included a surprising list of other well-known figures in the arts, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Martha Graham, Ezra Pound, Janet Flanner, and even Greta Garbo (for whom she was at times mistaken). Continue reading