Sunday, February 13, 2005

de Kooning : "The King"

Did you know that "de kooning" means the king in Dutch? I just finished the first section "Holland" of the Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan recently published biography. The rags-to-riches immmigrant boilerplate is here re-told in an engaging and fresh style. I hope that the last section "Twilight" doesn't try to gloss over the fact that the last fifteen or so years of de Koonings output was suspect from many angles... more on this later.
Joop Sanders, a former painting teacher of mine, is quoted throughout as he was a fellow Dutch expatriate and F.O.B. (de Kooning, that is). Like many New York artists, the shadow of "de king" loomed large and much of the art of the last 50 years is a reaction against the macho/loner/magalomaniacal/hard-drinking/womanizing painter. We are still too close to really get an historical perspective on all of this but this biography promises to be interesting if not entirely un-biased.


iolo said...

sorry to deflate your idea- koning means king, kooning /de kooning is just a name- ask any Dutchman, or woman, flyiing or not- hehe

Al Doyle said...

Really, you think? I read this in Mark Stevens' recently published "de Kooning An American Master" biography....go figure.