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De Kooning: A Retrospective
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2011
This book is the catalog for the great, albeit belated, retrospective currently held at Moma, supervised by one of the best museum curators in the US, John Elderfield. The illustrations are numerous and of a very good quality (which has not always been the case with Moma's recent publications). Practically all the greatest masterpieces are present (five of the six Women of the early 1950's) and the text breaks new ground insofar as it rehabilitates De Kooning's late period (the paintings of the 1980's, often dismissed by art critics as being the work of a debilitated artist weakened by the effects of dementia) and also traces some previously neglected sources that show how much the artist was translating the mood of his time on the canvas.

Highly recommended and a must-have in any arts library.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2011
Although there is some "filler" with the same information being presented in different formats(time-lines, periods) the overall content of the survey is outstanding, if a bit overly wordy. The plates are great and numerous and well done. However, they cannot realistically (nor could they be expected to) offer the experience of seeing the works firsthand; the size and scale of most of the works is too large. In sum, if you were unable to get to the show, this book provides an excellent resource in which to appreciate the scope of de Kooning's work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2013
Exemplary! This is all that a retrospective catalog can and should be!
The reproductions are mostly really good; the text informative and sophisticated, with Elderfield's intro possibly at his best. The structure is clear and logical -- of course de Kooning's work lends itself to structuring the presentation into clear periods. Differently colored pages in each of the chronological sections, minutely explicate the materials he used -- a wonderful and valuable feature! real kudos for that! -- and are appropriately accompanied by reproductions of details. The chronologies in each section are very useful as well -- the selections that went into these are necessarily a little subjective, but that's to be expected. A marvellous and almost definitive book for anyone who admires de Kooning's work!
I say almost definitive, because it covers the specific selection of his work for the MoMA retrospective -- a proper catalog -- which should not be confused with his entire oeuvre. As such, it suffers a bit from the overemphasis on the Women paintings of the 50's, and the underrepresentation of e.g.: his great late-50's abstractions, a lack one felt in viewing the exhibition itself. And anyone who was lucky enough to see MoMA's presentation of de Kooning's late paintings some 20+ years ago, as I was, understands fully the pleasures and the benefits of seeking out the work that did not make it into this exhibition -- and catalog. After all, I have NEVER seen a de Kooning painting in a public collection that did not "work" as a painting -- and he was a prolific painter!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2014
Saw the retrospect at the MOMA and found this book to be a thorough and superb representation of the exhibit. Being an art enthusiast of minimal consequence I found this book an eye opening view into the world of abstract art. It aided me in visualizing and appreciating the more than 200 plates of DeKoonings work. It was detailed with the artists intent along with the methodology utilized. There was just enough of DeKoonings life history to fit in with his prolific body of work. Kudos to all involved in this undertaking. I will make it a point to get MOMAs accompanying book prior to all my future exhibits.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2012
The reproductions of the art are very high quality and the text well written. A very comprehensive reference work. I read this in conjunction with the Pulitzer Prize winning bio of de Kooning ("An American Master") by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan to better understand and literally see what these authors were writing about. I recommend this art book in any event.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2015
I hesitated to buy this expensive book - I could find most of the pictures on the web and much of the bulk of the volume is writing, which you're supposed to read if you buy the book. Well, pictures in the book are printed better than those you find on the web AND the color is more faithful to that of the originals at the MOMA than you find in less expensive books.. After all, MOMA published the book.
So, what about reading the writing? Well, in the early pages there's the usual back scratching among academics et al, but once you get past that the individual essays (chapters) give reasoned insight in readable English. Chapter 5, "Women to Landscape" by John Elderfield is especially illuminating.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2011
This is an excellent catalogue of the de Kooning retrospective at MoMA in New York. There are high quality reproductions of the paintings and wonderful archival photographs from each period of de Kooning's career - like Robert Rauschenberg's black & white photographs of de Kooning's studio showing various early stages of the WOMEN series of paintings. Quite enlightening. There are also critical analyses of each period of de Kooning's work and a nice selection of his drawings are shown. There is even a scientific analysis of de Kooning's painting materials and methods from each artistic period provided at the end of each section. This book is well worth the price.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2011
This book on deKooning is beautifully laid out and the reproductions of his work are of good quality. The show at the Museum of Modern Art is represented well between the pages of the book.
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on January 25, 2013
but wanted to know when the Basquiat book is coming.

LOVE DEKOONING i live right by his studio in the Hamptons. He is one of the greatest inspirations and uplifting spirits ever to paint. Thank you for a wonderful Exploration into his life. and work. the book is like a Bible for art.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2012
If you are a fan of De Kooning's work, this is a must-have. As someone who visited the exhibit several times, I saw the book in person long before I was able to purchase it, and was somewhat hesitant to buy because it was a bit smaller than I would have liked. However, the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted a nice catalog of such a great De Kooning retrospective. The book arrives shrink wrapped, preventing any cosmetic damage from handling, which is a nice touch. Again, I felt the quality could have been punched up a bit by the publisher (better color fidelity, higher quality paper, the wishlist goes on), so while I was not prepared to purchase the book at full price, Amazon is offering it for a great value, so I bit the bullet, and I'm glad I did.
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