cover image Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning

Rizzoli, Judith Zilczer. Rizzoli International Publications, $60 (218pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1769-6

This well-illustrated catalogue of a traveling exhibit now at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., charts Dutch-born American expressionist Willem de Kooning's evolution from his early explorations of cubist and surrealist sources to his late lyrical abstractions. Rejecting the oft-repeated charge that de Kooning's disturbing paintings of women represent a violent chauvinistic assault, Hirshhorn curator Zilczer argues that these pictures satirize the social definition of gender and mock Western feminine ideals of beauty. She shows how de Kooning mined and melded caricature, ancient art and the imagery of modern advertising. Cooke, curator of the Dia Center for the Arts in New York City, maintains that de Kooning's work of the 1960s and '70s reveals a preoccupation with pastoral themes, reflecting his move from Manhattan to rural Long Island. Also included are bronze sculptures and pastel, ink and charcoal drawings. (Jan.)