Essay about Willem de Kooning

Words: 1543
Pages: 7

Willem de Kooning is considered one of the best American painters to ever live. He is compared to one of the Greek Sea Gods, Proteus, and is called "a master of a liquid realm who is gifted with prophecy" (Kertess).De Kooning is a highly intellectual, analytical artist with the courage to reject all assumptions and to take up an issue at its "most difficult formation" (Hess 16). One of de Kooning’s good friends was the poet, art critic, and MOMA Curator, Frank O'Hara. O’Hara considered de Kooning one of the three or four greatest painters of the twentieth century. He idolized de Kooning and was deeply influenced by de Kooning over their relationship. (Stevens 484) One of O'Hara's great poems about de Kooning's work was "Ode to Willem de …show more content…
The Ode to Willem de Kooning, proves Greenberg wrong by capturing not only the appearance and technique but the feeling of experiencing a de Kooning painting.

As in a number of de Kooning's paintings, in O'Hara's "Ode to Willem de Kooning," every line leads to a seemingly arbitrary line. De Kooning had a different way of thinking about painting; he believed that a painting “isn’t just the visual thing that reaches your retina - it’s what is behind it and in it;” a painting should have its “own integrity and intensity” (Kessler). He wasn’t interested in “abstracting” an image, he approached every painting abiding by the philosophy of “putting more and more things” in to a painting to make it "emotional" (Kertess). In Excavation, (Appendix B) the paint "strokes began to bounce into erratic trails of twist and turn" (Kertess). If you follow the paint strokes, every line leads to a different line which leads to a different line and so on; the strokes lead you through the painting like a long and windy road which doesn’t end but circles around. Just like the lines in Excavation, the lines in the Ode follow the same pattern. "Before the sunrise where the black begins an enormous city is sending up its shutters. and just before the last lapse of nerve which I am already sorry for, that friends describe as “just this once” in a temporary hell, I hope" I try to seize upon