Scheda libro
Biographies

de Kooning

L'uomo, l'artista

  • Author: Mark Stevens - Annalyn Swan
  • Year: 2007
  • Language: Italian
  • Pages: 880
  • Price: 35.00 €
  • ISBN: 978-88-60100-22-1
  • Size: cm 15.5 x 24
  • Finish: Arcoprint edizioni

Born in Rotterdam in 1904, Willem de Kooning moved to the United States in 1926. Together with Gorky, Pollock, Rothko and Kline, he was one of the leading pioneers of Abstract Expressionism, which marked New York’s replacement of Paris as the world’s capital of art.

De Kooning lived the longest of that group of painters and produced the most, continuing to create surprisingly daring images into the 1980s. Active in a variety of genres including figure painting, the female nude and landscapes verging on complete abstraction, he developed many different styles, each deeply personal and at the same reflecting movements of great importance in 20th-century American culture.

De Kooning’s life, from embarking as a stowaway to the attainment of celebrity, repeats the classic American myth of the emigrant who crosses the ocean in search of a better life and experiences poverty, failure and success first-hand.

On the basis of a decade of research including hundreds of interviews and a series of previously unpublished letters and documents, Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swann offer the first major biography of this complex and romantic figure.

De Kooning. L’uomo, l’artista is a living and richly detailed portrait and reconstruction of the painter’s life from the difficult years of poverty, instability and often violent family life in Rotterdam, the scene of his academic training and initial employment in decorative art, to his arrival in the United States, where he fought doggedly to establish himself as an American artist during the Depression. His early years in the United States are marked by the influence of Gorky, another immigrant, who was not only his mentor but also the role model who inspired his willingness to sacrifice everything to art. It was not until 1948 that his first solo show at the Egan Gallery revealed his talent to critics like Rosenberg and Hess, who vied with one another to champion his work and recognized him as a charismatic leader of the New York School, which was just beginning to make an international impact.

His stormy marriage to Elaine Fried, another renowned figure in the world of art, reached its crisis in the late 1940s and early ’50s. At the peak of his fame, de Kooning was caught up in a self-destructive spiral to the point of personifying the new American myth of the man destroyed by his own success. He spent his days painting powerful abstract works and provocative female figures, and his nights haunting the Cedar Tavern, talking to friends like Franz Kline and Frank O’Hara, womanizing, drinking and roaming the streets.

In the 1960s, worn out by the feverish world of art and nearly destroyed by success, he retreated to the Springs on Long Island, where he painted an extraordinary series of lush pastorals followed by an vast body of haunting, ethereal late work. Until the end, afflicted by senile dementia, de Kooning remained the painter he had always been, spending the day in front of the canvas and never hesitating to destroy his creations in order to renew a constantly shifting style in accordance with his conviction that you have to change in order to stay the same.

  • About the author
  • Contents
  • Press review
  • More info

Mark Stevens, art critic and journalist, writes for the magazine New York. A past contributor to The New Republic, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, The New York Times and The New Yorker, he lives in New York.

Annalyn Swan, a past contributor to Time magazine, has won numerous awards as a music critic and was responsible for the art section of Newsweek. She has written for The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly and the magazine New York. She lives in New York.

Olanda

1. Un'infanzia difficile

2. Mondi nuovi

3. Voglia di indipendenza

4. Sognando l'America

L'immigrante

5. Prime impressioni

6. Diventare un americano

7. Un grammofono da settecento dollari

8. I tre fratelli

9. Downtown

10. La WPA

11. Un artista incompleto

12. Amici e amanti

13. Elaine

14. Cenacoli esclusivi

15. A casa

Riconoscimenti

16. Rapporti in crisi

17. Segnali di ripresa

18. Toccare il fondo

19. Raggi nell’oscurità

20. Uscire allo scoperto

21. Il Club

Un maestro americano

22. La maturità

23. La crudele dea del successo

24. La gang

25. Stile elevato

26. Altre vite

27. L’impero newyorkese

28. Prostrazione

Springs

29. Di nuovo a casa

30. Segnali rassicuranti

31. Vecchi demoni

32. Legami consolidati

33. Atto secondo

34. Fango negli occhi

35. Creature d’argilla

36. Santa Emilia

Crepuscolo

37. Il ritorno di Elaine

38. Il lungo addio

39. Demenza

40. Epilogo

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