阿姆斯特丹市立博物館、倫敦，泰特美術館、紐約，現代藝術博物館、芝加哥，芝加哥藝術學院、洛杉磯，洛杉磯縣藝術博物館，「威廉•杜庫寧」，1968年9月 - 1969年9月，品號103
「威廉．杜庫寧在東漢普頓」，紐約，古根海姆博物館， 1978年2月- 4月，品號15，附彩色圖版
「威廉．杜庫寧：匹茲堡國際系列」，匹茲堡，卡內基研究所美術館， 1979年10月- 1980年1月，品號38，彩色圖版頁69
「威廉．杜庫寧：北大西洋光」，阿姆斯特丹市立博物館、 胡母勒貝克，路易斯安那博物館、斯德哥爾摩，當代美術館， 1983年5月 - 10月，品號11，彩色圖版頁34
「威廉．杜庫寧：素描、油畫、雕塑」，紐約，惠特尼美國藝術博物館、柏林，美術學院、 巴黎，蓬皮杜中心國立現代藝術博物館， 1983年12月 - 1984年9月，品號226，彩色圖版頁210
「威廉．杜庫寧：50至80年代作品選展」，紐約，C＆M藝術畫廊， 1994年6月- 8月
「威廉．杜庫寧：1948－1978 作品選展」，三藩市，約翰．•伯格魯恩畫廊， 1998年3月－4月
「威廉．杜庫寧：1964-1973年繪畫彫塑選展」，紐約，C＆M藝術畫廊， 2000年10月 - 12月，彩色圖版4頁40
In 1963, after gaining acclaim and stature as one of the most highly esteemed innovators among the Abstract Expressionist artists of postwar New York, Willem de Kooning left the city and relocated to East Hampton, Long Island. In this new place of nature and quietude, de Kooning infused fresh inspiration into his touchstone theme of the female figure merged with landscape: he embarked upon a series of languid and graceful Women paintings that luxuriate in the environment around them. In contrast to de Kooning's distinctly aggressive and disquieting figures of the previous decade - Woman I (1950-52) being the quintessential example - his later series of Women of the 1960s feature flowing brushwork, warm color combinations and an overall mood of cheerful air and sunshine. Woman on a Sign II, which de Kooning painted in 1967, is one such example in which a vibrant lively palette, abstracted figuration and liquefied paint application work in tandem with de Kooning's suggestive female poses to inject a renewed primal vitality into this famed series of tactile, fleshy Women.
Woman on a Sign II, along with paintings of the era such as Clam Diggers (1963) and Woman, Sag Harbor (1964, Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D. C.), stand in marked contrast to the artist's earlier Women that mirrored the percussive energy of the city. Instead, the explicit celebration of place in the Long Island paintings of the 1960s conjures the seaside with its impressionistic, fluid appearance. Emotionally, de Kooning felt a close kinship with the fields and dunes which reminded him of his native Netherlands, signaling a more contemplative yet sensual period in his work that his friend, the critic Thomas B. Hess, also attributed to a corresponding alteration in the artist's perspective. Vital colleagues such as Pollock, Gorky and Kline had passed from the scene and "the social glue which had bound the New York art world closely together some twenty years began to dissolve. ...The idea of privacy suddenly became as important as the exercise of dialogue. As men become older, the issue narrows into the one of life and death, where private, rather than public ideas are important." (Thomas B. Hess, de Kooning, Recent Paintings, New York, 1967, p. 13).
In 1967, de Kooning further acknowledged the evolving symbolism of Woman to his creative output. "The women I paint now are very friendly and pastoral, like my landscapes, and not so aggressive. Women are the symbol of civilization, like the Venus of Willendorf. I can't get away from the femaleness—those breasts are such great shapes." (Exh. Cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, de Kooning: A Retrospective, 2011, p. 378). In the paintings of this period, de Kooning's focus migrated to the figure's legs which serve to support the upward thrust of the image in which face, torso and legs are often pulled apart and spread across the canvas. As in The Visit (1967, Tate Collection, London), the woman's buttocks and legs are the central form in the composition of Woman on a Sign II and a new eroticism becomes apparent. An emphatic red line traces the outline of the rounded cheeks before turning upward to signify the woman's splayed legs. The nude-colored paint rises through a rounded torso toward the deconstructed face denoted by swatches of nude, red and black. Though her body thus appears to recede, the figure's positioning is exceptionally ambiguous - the viewer is invited to interpret whether she reclines into the surrounding foliage or exists on the same plane. Regardless, the provocative nature is evident. As Klaus Kertess wrote, "The indeterminate contours and slashing shorthand push the figures de Kooning painted in the second half of the 1960s into abstraction and vice versa. The figure is dared into existence. The body of the seated, splayed-legged woman... is so marginally delineated that it all but becomes a negative space. Her legs dissolve, her arms are almost impossible to locate.... Some of the primal ambiguities and ferocity of Woman I rise to the surface here." (Exh. Cat., Basel, Kunstmuseum, de Kooning, Paintings 1960-1980, 2005, p. 56).
Woman on a Sign II is one of at least four paintings of this title, referencing American advertising and mainstream representations of women. Art historian Diane Waldman explained, "Since the late 1940s, de Kooning had been attracted to the radiant American female pictured on billboards and trucks. He commemorated them in several works entitled Woman on a Sign, of which Woman on a Sign II of 1967 is an example. He used such banal stereotypes as the movie queen to serve a dual function: he exploited his subjects' loaded meanings as symbols of cultural phenomena and gave them more profound significance in his exploration of the abstract potential of the human form." (Diane Waldman, Willem de Kooning, New York, 1988, p. 85).
In so obscuring the source of inspiration for Woman on a Sign II, de Kooning not only investigated a distortion of the figure, but he removed the commercial intent and stripped the image to its bare essentials of color and form. Nonetheless, despite its abstractedness, de Kooning's explicit depiction of the woman's body exudes a sexuality reminiscent of other modern masterpieces such as Pablo Picasso's Cubist masterpiece Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec's La Clownesse assise (1896). Picasso's muses exist in a foreshortened space where bent limbs are compressed, particularly the woman in lower right with her knees spread wide; Toulouse-Lautrec's female performer lounges with her legs outstretched in an angled pattern akin to Woman on a Sign II. Like Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec before him, de Kooning's flattened abstraction of the human form had as much to do with modernist pictorial space as with the arousing subject matter. While acknowledging the late 1960s Woman were "sexy," de Kooning explained, "that's not the main issue for me. I'm working on a pose with which I can explore foreshortening and perspective. Sometimes I lay the figure out flat and then roll it all over the place... You get interested in a pose and you just work with it." (Mark Stevens, de Kooning: An American Master, New York, 2004, p. 498). Ultimately, in composition, surface and lush color, Woman on a Sign II declares once again that de Kooning's art is at its best when transmuting the tactile pleasures of the female form and verdant landscape within the embrace of the visceral plasticity of paint. As de Kooning famously declared in 1950, "Flesh was the reason oil painting was invented."