The Macklowe Collection: Courtney Kremers on De Kooning's Untitled XIII, 1984

In this video, join Sotheby's Courtney Kremers in an exploration of William De Kooning's Untitled XIII, to be offered as a highlight of The Macklowe Collection May 2022. Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XIII from 1984 emphatically reveals the mature artist working at the height of his creative powers. Here, the buoyant graceful lines of de Kooning’s abstract calligraphy are utterly sensual, and with his reduced and lyrical palette, nowhere is his grand ability as a colorist more poetically asserted than in these late masterpieces. The cascading lines describe a spatial openness and delicate balance that is freer and utterly confident as de Kooning literally draws on canvas in his purest fashion. Describing de Kooning’s technique in his late paintings, Carter Ratcliff observed, “Something extraordinary happens in the 1980s. Dragging a wide metal edge through heavy masses of paint, de Kooning turns scraping into a kind of drawing. A process of subtraction makes an addition, a stately flurry of draftsmanly gestures. De Kooning has always layered and elided his forms. Now he reminds us that he does the same with his methods.” (Carter Ratcliff, “Willem de Kooning and the Question of Style,” in Willem de Kooning: The North Atlantic Light, 1960-1983, Amsterdam 1983, p. 22) Acquired directly from d'Offay Gallery in London in 1987, the present work has remained in The Macklowe Collection for over three decades.

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