How did you first encounter Willem de Kooning’s paintings? What is it about his work that appeals to you?
The Phillips Collection in Washington D. C. has a particularly beautiful de Kooning: Asheville, 1948. I was always fascinated by it but frustrated that I couldn’t articulate its effect on me. It made me want to look for other de Koonings and to read the literature on his work—initially that in Art News, such as Tom Hess’s “De Kooning Paints a Picture.” I was disappointed by this literature which I found merely effusive rather than analytical.
What motivated you to write a book about his work?
I had written my senior thesis on de Kooning at Wellesley College; then, when I saw the 2011 MoMA retrospective, curated by John Elderfield, I felt I had things to say about the paintings that no one had expressed before. (more…)