About This Artwork

Willem de Kooning
American, born Netherlands, 1904–1997

Untitled XI, 1975

Oil on linen
195.6 x 223.5 cm (77 x 88 in.), without frame
Not inscribed on recto; signed: verso: "de Kooning" (bottom left in black crayon)

Through prior bequests of John J. Ireland and Joseph Winterbotham; Walter Aitken Endowment, 1983.792

© 1975 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Willem de Kooning is known for emotive, gestural canvases that transcend conventional definitions of figuration and abstraction. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he turned his attention away from painting, instead focusing on sculpture, printmaking, and drawing. In 1975, at the age of 71, de Kooning began one of the most productive periods of painting in his career, quickly completing 20 new, large canvases within 6 months. Untitled XI belongs to this series, which was, with a few exceptions, untitled and chronologically numbered. Moving away from tightly organized compositions, de Kooning used free-flowing brushwork and softened, sensuous hues to liberate form. Here the figurative references that are dominant in his earlier work are nearly lost within a far more lyrical and joyful abstract landscape.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, Fourcade, Droll, “de Kooning: New Works, Painting and Sculpture,” October 25–December 6, 1975; traveled to Modern Art Pavilion, Seattle Art Museum, February 4–March 14, 1976, cat. 11 (color ill.).

Washington, D. C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, “The Golden Door: Artist-Immigrants of America, 1876–1976,” May 20–October 20, 1976, cat. 112 (color ill.).

Geneva, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, “Willem de Kooning: sculptures, lithographies, peintures,” March 17–April 24, 1977; traveled to Grenoble, Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, June 23–September 20, 1977, cat. P2 (color ill.).

Paris, Galerie Daniel Templon, “Willem de Kooning: peintures et sculptures recents,” September 27–October 29, 1977, no cat.

New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, “Willem de Kooning in East Hampton,” February 10–April 23, 1978, cat. by Diane Waldman, cat. 31 (ill.).

Pittsburgh, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, “Willem de Kooning: Pittsburgh International Series,” October 26, 1979–January 6, 1980, cat. 43 (color ill.).

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, “The North Atlantic Light, 1960–1983,” May 11–July 3, 1983; traveled to Humlebaek, Denmark, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, July 15–September 4, 1983, and Stockholm, Moderna Museet, September 17–October 30, 1983, Dutch cat., p. 22, cat. 19 (color ill.); Swedish cat., p. 21, cat. 20 (color ill.).

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, “Willem de Kooning: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture,” December 15, 1983–February 26, 1984; traveled to Berlin, Akademie der Künste, March 11–April 29, 1984, and Paris, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, June 28–September 24, 1984, cat. 238 (color ill.); French cat., p. 132 (color ill.).

Kunstmuseum Basel, “de Kooning: Paintings, 1960–1980,” September 17, 2005–January 22, 2006, cat. 17 (color ill.). For a general discussion of abstract landscapes from 1975–80, see pp. 22–26.

Publication History

Gerrit Henry, “de Kooning: Reconfirming the Apocalypse,” “ARTnews” 74, 9 (November 1975), p. 61 (color ill.).

Josette Meleze, “Cet obscur sujet du plaisir,” “Pariscope” (October 5, 1977), p. 97 (ill.).

Harry F. Gaugh, “Willem de Kooning,” Modern Masters 2 (Abbeville Press, 1983), fig. 96 (ill.).

“The Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report, 1983–84” (Art Institute of Chicago, 1984), pp. 7, 23, 53, fig. 26 (ill.).

“Noteworthy Acquisitions of 1983–84,” in “A Supplement to the 1983–84 Annual Report of the Art Institute of Chicago” (Art Institute of Chicago, 1984), p. 16 (color ill.).

Philippe Sollers, “de Kooning, vite” (Éditions de la différence, 1988), vol. 2, cat. 89 (color ill.).

Yoshiyuki Fuji, “Willem de Kooning,” Contemporary Great Masters 5 (Kodansha, 1993), pl. 80 (color ill.).

David Cateforis, “Willem de Kooning” (Rizzoli International, 1994), n.pag., pl. 13 (color ill.), back cover (color ill.).

Ownership History

The artist, New York, from 1975. Sold, Xavier Fourcade, New York, to Richard C. Hedreen, Seattle, by 1979. Sold, Xavier Fourcade to the Art Institute, 1983.

Interpretive Resources

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