About the Talk
By 1950, Willem de Kooning was recognized, along with Jackson Pollock, as a leading figure in America’s abstract expressionist movement. In the fall of that year, de Kooning visited an exhibition of canvases by the Lithuanian-born artist Chaïm Soutine at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Two years later, he saw 16 Soutine paintings at the Barnes Foundation. Around this time, de Kooning abandoned abstraction to make his notorious Woman paintings, which were first exhibited in 1953. Soutine / de Kooning, currently on view in the Roberts Gallery, shows the conversations in paint between the two artists. In this online talk, art historian John Elderfield explores de Kooning’s engagement with Soutine's work and how it influenced changes in his artistic practice.
Registrants will be emailed a link for the talk on the day prior.
John Elderfield is an independent curator and art historian whose most recent exhibitions include Cézanne Portraits (National Portrait Gallery, London, 2018) and Cézanne: The Rock and Quarry Paintings (Princeton University Art Museum, 2020). He is Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, where he curated retrospectives of de Kooning, Kurt Schwitters, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Martin Puryear, and Armando Reverón, among other exhibitions. He is also a senior curator at Gagosian Gallery, New York, and has written about artists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Bob Dylan, Brice Marden, Jenny Saville, and Mary Weatherford.
Willem de Kooning. Woman II, 1952. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller, 1955. Artwork © 2021 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, New York