FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 201 Ingmar Bergman (Feature on artist Willem de Kooning )

Ingmar Bergman Interview (1/6) – Entrevista BBC

Uploaded on Dec 7, 2009

Entrevista dada a BBC Ingmar Bergman fala de sua vida e sua obra – Legenda em Inglês

Breaking Down Bergman – An interview with Liv Ullmann about Liv & Ingmar

Published on May 18, 2013

Actress Liv Ullmann sat down with Breaking Down Bergman co-host David Friend while at the Montreal World Film Festival to discuss the documentary Liv & Ingmar. The film looks at her relationship with director Ingmar Bergman, and in the interview Ullmann talks about why she decided to participate in the documentary and what Bergman might think of the digital age of cinema.

Breaking Down Bergman is a web series hosted by Friend and Sonia Strimban. Together we are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details.

http://www.youtube.com/breakingdownfilms

The Silence (Tystnaden) – Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #25

Published on Feb 11, 2013

WARNING: This video contains clips from Bergman’s The Silence which may not be suitable for younger viewers.

Two sisters travel with a young boy by train, but stop midtrip at a hotel as one of the sisters, who is sick, becomes increasingly ill. While at the hotel, the other sister wanders the city and encounters a random man who she has sex with, while the boy spends his time wandering a mostly empty hotel.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details.

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Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman (1/2)

Uploaded on Jul 30, 2008

Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman. Interviewer: Mark Kermode.

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Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman (2/2)

Uploaded on Jul 30, 2008

Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman. Interviewer: Mark Kermode.

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The Magician (Ansiktet) – Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #20

Published on Jun 27, 2012

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The world of illusion becomes Bergman’s vision in The Magician, also known as The Face. Hosts David Friend and Sonia Strimban discuss some of the director’s ideas in this film, and disagree on a few of the themes.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details

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Persona (1/2) (Persona) – Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #27

Published on Mar 25, 2013

A young nurse, a veteran actress, together they make the intellectual puzzle that is Persona, one of Ingmar Bergman’s most acclaimed and complex films. In this two-part episode co-hosts David Friend and Sonia Strimban discuss the film, with the first video focusing on the actresses and their characters.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details

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Persona (2/2) (Persona) – Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #27 (Part 2)

Published on Apr 15, 2013

Part 2 of the Persona discussion. A young nurse, a veteran actress, together they make the intellectual puzzle that is Persona, one of Ingmar Bergman’s most acclaimed and complex films. In this two-part episode co-hosts David Friend and Sonia Strimban discuss the film, with the second video focusing on the origins of the film and its themes.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details

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Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop) – Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #33

Published on Feb 3, 2014

Three sisters reunite when one of them is stricken with cancer, and the process unearths emotions between them that have been long repressed. Ingmar Bergman’s richly coloured film is at times one of his most epic in scale and intimate in performance. Co-hosts David Friend and Sonia Strimban discuss numerous angles of the film, including how it ties to others like Brink of Life, and how the colour palette of the production influences the storyline.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

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Breaking Down Bergman – An interview with Liv Ullmann about Liv & Ingmar

Published on May 18, 2013

Actress Liv Ullmann sat down with Breaking Down Bergman co-host David Friend while at the Montreal World Film Festival to discuss the documentary Liv & Ingmar. The film looks at her relationship with director Ingmar Bergman, and in the interview Ullmann talks about why she decided to participate in the documentary and what Bergman might think of the digital age of cinema.

Breaking Down Bergman is a web series hosted by Friend and Sonia Strimban. Together we are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details.

http://www.youtube.com/breakingdownfilms

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Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen) – Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #28

Published on Jul 15, 2013

A dark and mysterious tale of an artist’s slow descent into madness is rife with uncertainties, questionable truths and plenty of surprises. David Friend and Sonia Strimban discuss the film and try to decode some of its more confusing aspects.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details

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Wild Strawberries (1/2) (Smultronstället) Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #18 Part 1

Published on May 23, 2012

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After Bergman stunned audiences and critics with The Seventh Seal, he delivers another classic with Wild Strawberries. Hosts David Friend and Sonia Strimban discuss the film in two parts, first looking at the actors and the structure of the film.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details.

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Wild Strawberries (2/2) (Smultronstället) Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #18 Part 2

Published on Jun 4, 2012

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Hosts David Friend and Sonia Strimban look at Ingmar Bergman’s use of dreams in Wild Strawberries. The second part of the two-part discussion also focuses on the use of mirrors as imagery in the film, one of Bergman’s trademarks.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details.

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The Seventh Seal (1/3) (Det sjunde inseglet) – Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #17

Published on Apr 24, 2012

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Ingmar Bergman’s most recognized (and likely most parodied) film is broken down into three parts for this discussion. In part one, hosts David Friend and Sonia Strimban look at the origins of the film, setting the scene for the debates that follow in the two subsequent videos, which are linked.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details.

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The Seventh Seal (2/3) (Det sjunde inseglet) – Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #17 Part 2

Published on Apr 30, 2012

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The second part of the discussion on Ingmar Bergman’s most recognized film takes on what most Breaking Down Bergman episodes find most important, the meaning and symbolism behind the film. Hosts David Friend and Sonia Strimban focus particularly on religion and how it relates to the characters, but also take a moment to ponder the wild strawberries that make a curious appearance in one scene.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details.

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The Seventh Seal (3/3) (Det sjunde inseglet) – Breaking Down Bergman – Episode #17 Part 3

Published on May 8, 2012

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The final episode on The Seventh Seal looks at the importance of this legendary film in modern cinema, and whether it still resonates with today’s audiences in the same way it did during its initial release. Hosts David Friend and Sonia Strimban also talk about how Bergman’s film changed the way we watch movies.

All related clips and images are copyrighted and property of their respective owners.

Friend and Strimban are watching the career of the Swedish director from his first film to his last, in order, and discussing their observations. Visit the main channel for more details

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Francis Schaeffer below in his film series shows how this film was appealing to “nonreason” to answer our problems.

In the book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Schaeffer notes:

Especially in the sixties the major philosophic statements which received a wide hearing were made through films. These philosophic movies reached many more people than philosophic writings or even painting and literature. Among these films were THE LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD by Alain Resnais (1961), THE SILENCE by Ingmar Bergman (1967), JULIET OF THE SPIRITS by Federico Fellini (1965), BLOW UP by Michelangelo Antonioni (1966), BELLE DE JOUR by Luis Bunuel (1967), and THE HOUR OF THE WOLF by Ingmar Bergman (1967).

They showed pictorially (and with great force) what it is like if man is a machine and also what it is like if man tries to live in the area of non-reason. In the area of non-reason man is left without categories. He has no way to distinguish between right and wrong, or even between what is objectively true as opposed to illusion or fantasy….One could view these films a hundred times and there still would be no way to be sure what was portrayed as objectively true and what was part of a character’s imagination. if people begin only from themselves and really live in a universe in which there is no personal God to speak, they have no final way to be sure of the difference between reality and fantasy or illusion.

But Bergman (like Sartre, Camus, and all the rest) cannot really live with his own position. Therefore in The Silence the background music is Bach’s Goldberg Variations. When he was asked in the filmed interview about music, he said that there is a small holy part of the human being where music speaks. Bergman also said that while he was writing the script for the film SILENCE that he had the music of Bach’s Goldberg Variations playing in his home and the music interfered with that which was being set forth in that film (pp. 201-203).

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The above clip is from the film series by Francis Schaeffer “How should we then live?” Below is an outline of the 8th episode on the Impressionists and the age of Fragmentation. The third part discusses surrealist films like Belle de Jour that mixes our reality with our day dreams.

 

AGE OF FRAGMENTATION

I. Art As a Vehicle Of Modern Thought

A. Impressionism (Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas) and Post-Impressionism (Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat): appearance and reality.

1. Problem of reality in Impressionism: no universal.

2. Post-Impression seeks the universal behind appearances.

3. Painting expresses an idea in its own terms as a work of art; to discuss the idea in a painting is not to intellectualize art.

4. Parallel search for universal in art and philosophy; Cézanne.

B. Fragmentation.

1. Extremes of ultra-naturalism or abstraction: Wassily Kandinsky.

2. Picasso leads choice for abstraction: relevance of this choice.

3. Failure of Picasso (like Sartre, and for similar reasons) to be fully consistent with his choice.

C. Retreat to absurdity.

1. Dada , and Marcel Duchamp: art as absurd. (Dada gave birth to Surrealism).

2. Art followed philosophy but came sooner to logical end.

3. Chance in his art technique as an art theory impossible to practice: Pollock.

II. Music As a Vehicle of Modern Thought

A. Non-resolution and fragmentation: German and French streams.

1. Influence of Beethoven’s last Quartets.

2. Direction and influence of Debussy.

3. Schoenberg’s non-resolution; contrast with Bach.

4. Stockhausen: electronic music and concern with the element of change.

B. Cage: a case study in confusion.

1. Deliberate chance and confusion in Cage’s music.

2. Cage’s inability to live the philosophy of his music.

C. Contrast of music-by-chance and the world around us.

1. Inconsistency of indulging in expression of chaos when we acknowledge order for practical matters like airplane design.

2. Art as anti-art when it is mere intellectual statement, divorced from reality of who people are and the fullness of what the universe is.

III. General Culture As the Vehicle of Modern Thought

A. Propagation of idea of fragmentation in literature.

1. Effect of Eliot’s Wasteland and Picasso’s Demoiselles d’ Avignon

compared; the drift of general culture.

2. Eliot’s change in his form of writing when he became a Christian.

3. Philosophic popularization by novel: Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir.

B. Cinema as advanced medium of philosophy.

1. Cinema in the 1960s used to express Man’s destruction: e.g. Blow-up.

2. Cinema and the leap into fantasy:

 

The Hour of the WolfBelle de JourJuliet of the Spirits,

The Last Year at Marienbad.

3. Bergman’s inability to live out his philosophy (see Cage):

Silence and The Hour of the Wolf.

IV. Only on Christian Base Can Reality Be Faced Squarely

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Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman

By Richard Corliss Wednesday, Aug. 01, 2007
EverettWoody Allen in Love and Death.

He created indelible allegories of postwar man adrift without God. He was the movies’ great dramatist of strong, tortured women, and the finest director of actresses. More than any filmmaker, he raised the status of movies to an art form equal to novels and plays. Yet when Ingmar Bergman died on Monday, the popular description of him was: Woody Allen’s favorite director.

What did the domineering Swedish tragedian and the self-depreciating American comedian have in common? Plenty. Both created original scripts from their experiences and obsessions. Both worked fast — at least a movie a year for most of their long careers — and relatively cheap. Both forged long relationships with their sponsoring studios. And Bergman was a strong influence on Allen’s work: from his New Yorker parody of The Seventh Seal, “Death Knocks” (in which the hero plays not chess with Death but gin rummy) to a cameo by a Grim Reaper in Love and Death and, more deeply, the inspiration for the theme and tone of Interiors and Another Woman.

Shooting his new film in Spain, Allen took time out to talk with me about Bergman. We began by remarking on the death, the same day as Bergman’s, of Michelangelo Antonioni — the Italian director of L’Avventura, Eclipse, Blowup and The Passenger, and another prime depicter of modern alienation. — R.C.

RICHARD CORLISS: The insular Swede and the cosmopolitan Italian, dead on the same day.

WOODY ALLEN: Dreadful and astonishing. Two titanic film directors! Everyone here was shocked. Their work lives on, which just means their films are showing in a few places and sold on DVD. But the men are no longer with us, and that is tragic.

R.C.: But Bergman was 89, Antonioni 94. They had a great run, and you have to think they got to say what they had to say.

W.A.: Yes, they were not prematurely taken from our midst. Still, to me, the fact that it happens at all is sad, just terrible, tragic.

R.C.: Your connection with Bergman is well known. Did you know Antonioni at all?

W.A.: I knew him slightly and spent some time with him. He was thin as a wire and athletic and energetic and mentally alert. And he was a wonderful ping-pong player. I played with him; he always won because he had a great reach. That was his game.

R.C.: But it’s fair to say you’re first and foremost a Bergman guy, and that you have been for 50 years. There were a lot of young people in the ’50s who saw Bergman’s films — usually it was The Seventh Seal — and were overwhelmed with an almost religious conversion. And the doctrine of this religion was that film was an art.

W.A.: I agree. For me it was Wild Strawberries. Then The Seventh Seal and The Magician. That whole group of films that came out then told us that Bergman was a magical filmmaker. There had never been anything like it, this combination of intellectual artist and film technician. His technique was sensational.

R.C.: After long admiring Bergman, you finally met him, through Liv Ullmann, who had starred in many of his films and lived with him for a few years.

W.A.: He and I had dinner in his New York hotel suite; it was a great treat for me. I was nervous, I really didn’t want to go. But he was not at all what you might expect: the formidable, dark, brooding genius. He was a regular guy. He commiserated with me about low box-office grosses and women and having to put up with studios.

Later, he’d speak to me by phone from his oddball little island [Faro, where Bergman lived his last 40 years]. He confided about his irrational dreams: for instance, that he would show up on the set and not know where to put the camera and be completely panic-stricken. He’d have to wake up and tell himself that he is an experienced, respected director and he certainly does know where to put the camera. But that anxiety was with him long after he had created 15, 20 masterpieces.

R.C.: You knew he was Ingmar Bergman, but maybe he didn’t. He didn’t get to view his reputation from the outside.

W.A.: Exactly. The world saw him as a genius, and he was worrying about the weekend grosses. Yet he was plain and colloquial in speech, not full of profound pronunciamentos about life. Sven Nykvist [his cinematographer] told me that when they were doing all those scenes about death and dying, they’d be cracking jokes and gossiping about the actors’ sex lives.

R.C.: You worked with Nykvist on four films. And you seem to share Bergman’s work ethic.

W.A.: I copied some of that from him. I liked his attitude that a film is not an event you make a big deal out of. He felt filmmaking was just a group of people working. At times he made two and three films in a year. He worked very fast; he’d shoot seven or eight pages of script at a time. They didn’t have the money to do anything else.

R.C.: One reason that boys of a certain age were enthralled by Bergman’s films was that he had some of the world’s most beautiful and powerful actresses in his repertory company: Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet and Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnel Lindblom, Liv Ullmann, Lena Olin. These were major mesmerizers, and they all worked for him.

W.A.: He was obsessed with faces and had a wonderful way with women. He had an affinity for women that Tennessee Williams did. Some kind of closeness he felt. Their problems obsessed him.

R.C.: One difference there is that Tennessee Williams didn’t sleep with his leading ladies. Bergman was a famously imperious charmer, and had long liaisons with Harriet Andersson, then Bibi Andersson, then Liv Ullmann. There was a rumor that all seven actresses in his film All These Women were former Bergman mistresses.

W.A.: That would not surprise me because, as I heard it from Sven, that’s the way it was there. There was an enormous amount of socializing, and sexual and romantic escapades. It was a lighter situation than you would think. There’s so much feeling on the screen that you think he had to have a serious life. But he was a ladies’ man. He loved relationships with women.

R.C.: Many film critics assign Bergman to a lower rank because, they say, he makes filmed plays. I don’t see this as a limitation, but wouldn’t you agree that he was essentially a film writer who directed his own work?

W.A.: That could be said of me too. But you must also take a Bergman film like Cries and Whispers where there’s almost no dialogue at all. This could only be done on film. He invented a film vocabulary that suited what he wanted to say, that had never really been done before. He’d put the camera on one person’s face close and leave it there, and just leave it there and leave it there. It was the opposite of what you learned to do in film school, but it was enormously effective and entertaining.

R.C.: OK. So you think he’s great, and I think he’s great. But to many young people — I mean bright, film-savvy kids — he’s Ingmar Who? What relevance do his films have today?

W.A.: I think his films have eternal relevance, because they deal with the difficulty of personal relationships and lack of communication between people and religious aspirations and mortality, existential themes that will be relevant a thousand years from now. When many of the things that are successful and trendy today will have been long relegated to musty-looking antiques, his stuff will still be great.

R.C.: But not many artists worry about God’s silence these days. In the media the current battle is between militant believers and devout atheists. You get very few tortured agnostics.

W.A.: You’re right. That was his obsession. He was brought up religiously [his father was a Lutheran minister] and it wasn’t simply a question of atheism or not. He longed for the possibility of religious phenomenon. That longing tortured him his whole life. But in the end he was a great entertainer. The Seventh Seal, all those films, they grip you. It’s not like doing homework.

R.C.: If someone who hadn’t seen any of his films asked you to recommend just five, what would be your Bergman starter set?

W.A.: The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Magician, Cries and Whispers and Persona.

R.C.: Many directors would be happy to have made just those five films.

W.A.: Or one of them.

____ Featured artist is Willem de Kooning

chronology


de Kooning with painting, 1946. Photograph by Harry Bowden, 10x9in. Archives of American Art.

1904 April 24, Willem de Kooning is born in Port of Rotterdam, Holland, to Leendert de Kooning (b. February 10, 1876) and Cornelia Nobel de Kooning (b. March 3, 1877). He has one older sister, Marie (b. 1899). (His mother later gives birth to three more daughters, none of whom live past one year.)

1909 Parents divorce; court awards custody of five-year-old Willem to his father. His mother, however, kidnaps Willem and is later awarded full custody.

1916 Completes grammar school.

1916-1920 Begins training in commercial art under Jan and Jaap Giding, proprietors of a large commercial art firm, with whom he resides. Enrolls in the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten en Technische Wetenschappen in Brussels, Belgium, attending night classes until 1924, when he graduates with certifications in both carpentry and art.

1920 Leaves the Giddings to begin training with Bernard Romein, noted art director of a large department store in Rotterdam.

1924-1926 Travels to Antwerp and enrolls in the Van Schelling School of Design, commuting to Brussels to study simultaneously at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, supporting himself with commercial work.


The Kiss, 1925. Graphite on paper, 48.3×33.5cm. Allan Stone Gallery, New York City.

1926 Immigrates to United States as a stow-away on the SS Shelly, arriving in Newport News, Virginia on July 30. Takes ship to Boston, Massachusetts, then travels by train to Rhode Island. Settles in Hoboken, New Jersey, and finds lodging at the Dutch Seaman’s Home. Becomes acquainted with other artists and moves to New York City. Works as commercial artist and as a sign-painter, window dresser, and carpenter.

1927 Moves to Manhattan and begins working for Eastman Brothers, a design firm. Meets Misha Reznikoff, who is later instrumental in securing his 1948 summer teaching job at Black Mountain College.

1928 Spends the summer at the artists’ colony in Woodstock, New York.

1929 Becomes associated with modern artists John Graham and Stuart Davis. Buys Capehart hi-fi sound system, spending nearly six months’ salary. Frequents George’s in the Village and the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem with David Margoli and other artists.

1930 Meets David Smith and Arshile Gorky. Moves into studio apartment with Gorky. Works as a window dresser for A.S. Beck, a chain of shoe stores in New York. Meets Virginia “Nini” Diaz, with whom he goes to Woodstock, New York. in late May. Moves to 348 W. 55th Street with Diaz in the autumn; Diaz’s mother moves in. Diaz has first of three abortions, the last in 1935, which leaves her unable to conceive.

1932 Moves to Greenwich Village with Diaz.

1934 Joins Artist’s Union, which leads to attending John Reed Club (a pro- Communist group) meetings, despite his anti-Commuist leanings. Meets Julie Browner in May and begins relationship; Diaz moves out. Returns to Woodstock and rents home with Browner for the summer. Invites Diaz to join them, which she does, resulting in a ménage à trois. Invites Marie Marchowski and her friend to join them; they also move in. Returns to New York City, live at 40 Union Square, a home owned by friend and architect Mac Vogel. Browning returns from Woodstock; she and de Kooning move to 145 West 21st Street, then to 145 West 23rd Street.

1935 Meets Rudy Burckhardt and Edwin Denby, who become first collectors of de Kooning’s work. Begins full-time employment with the mural division of the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project, one of which is the Williamsburg Federal Housing Project in Brooklyn. Makes pivotal decision to devote his life to art, inspired by WPA director Burgoyne Diller. Leaves A.S. Beck to pursue art full time. Meets art critic, Harold Rosenberg. His mother comes to visit.

1936 Moves with Browner to commercially-zoned 156 West 22nd Street. Meets artist Mark Rothko. Unfinished work for the Williamsburg mural is included in group exhibition New Horizons in American Art at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, September 14-October 12; this is his first public recognition in America. Declines participation in the American Abstract Artists group.

1937 System and Dialectics of Art, by John Graham, is published, naming de Kooning one of eight painters he considered “outstanding.” Arshile Gorky paints Portrait of Master Bill, a painting of de Kooning. Resigns from the WPA in August when “American citizens only” policy is announced, effective post-July. Begins work on a mural, Medicine, for the World’s Fair on the Hall of Pharmacy building; work on this continues until early 1939.

1938 Browner moves in with Diaz. Meets Elaine Marie Fried, a fellow artist and teacher. Paints a series of male figures, including Two Men Standing, A Man, and Seated Figure. Begins abstractions Pink Landscape and Elegy.

1939 Becomes influenced by the Surrealist style of Gorky and Picasso and the Gestural style of Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline. Suffers financially; tutors local art students. Becomes engaged to Fried. Visits Balcomb Greene in Fishkill. With other artists, petitions the Museum of Modern Art to show the work of Earl Kerkam after his death.

The Glazier, 1940. Oil on canvas, 54×44 in. Metropolitan Museum. Figure.

1940 Alcoholism and poverty are both significant. Becomes identified with the Abstract Expressionist movement. Drawings appear in Harper’s Bazaar. On May 14, his birthplace, Rotterdam, is hit by Germans. Harper’s Bazaar commissions four hairstyle sketches, with Elaine as model, for $75 each.

1941 Attends Miro exhibition. Is influenced by Matta, with whom he and Gorky become friends.

1942 Work is featured in the January 20-February 6 John Graham exhibition at McMillan, Inc. Drawing of a sailor with pipe is used in advertisement for Model Tobacco in Life Magazine.

1943 George Keller promises a one-man show at his Bignou Gallery; de Kooning fails to send sufficient work to exhibit. A group show included Pink Landscape and Elegy; both were bought by Helena Rubenstein for $1,050. Moved to 156 West 22nd Street. In summer, meets Franz Kline at Conrad Marca Relli’s 148 West 4th Street studio. Marries Elaine Fried on December 9. Shortly thereafter, he discovers her in bed with ex-lover, Robert Jonas.

1944 Abstract and Surrealist Art in the United States features de Kooning’s work at the Cincinnati Art Museum, February 8 – March 12. After closing, the exhibition moves to the Mortimer Brandt Gallery. Sidney Janis publishes the book, Abstract and Surrealist Art in America.

1945 Painting The Netherlands wins competition sponsored by the Container Corporation of America in January. The Wave is shown in the Autumn Salon at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century exhibition in the fall. Elaine sails to Provincetown with physicist Bill Hardy; de Kooning disapproves. Paints Pink Angels.

1946 Inspired by Pollock and Kline, begins first black-and-white abstracts. Charles Egan opens gallery at 63 East 57th Street. Marie Marchowsky commissions backdrop for a dance performance at New York Times Hall; de Kooning and Resnick collaborate on the project. Rents a studio with Jack Tworkov. Contacts father by letter in November requesting to see him. His father encourages him to seek more stable employment.


Valentine, 1947. Oil and enamel. Museum of Modern Art, New York. Abstract.

1947 Creates the black-and-white painting, Orestes, entitled by Tiger’s Eye magazine.

1948 Charles Egan Gallery arranges first one-man show on April 12, consisting of black-and-white enamels includingPainting, Village, Square & Dark Pond; reviews are favorable. Museum of Modern Art purchases Painting for $700; it is the only sale of the exhibition. Teaches summer session at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Returns with student Pat Passlof.. Arshile Gorky hangs himself July 21. Elaine has affairs with Charles Egan, a brief fling with Harold Rosenburg, and then an affair withThomas Hess; the latter relationship lasts until the early 1950s. Willem has numerous trysts and involvements.Mailbox is shown at the Whitney’s annual show of American art the fall. Life magazine names de Kooning one of the five “young extremists.”

1949 Meets Mary Abbott; begins affair which extends intermittently until the mid-1950s. Is introduced to projector by Franz Kline; begins series of large canvas abstractions. Gives first public statement at The Subjects of the Artist School. Drinking increases. Rents cottage with Elaine in Provincetown. PaintsSailcloth and Two Women on a Wharf. Sidney Janis Gallery features portrait of de Kooning with Elaine in exhibition.Intrasubjectives exhibition at Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, September 4 – October 3, includes de Kooning. Opens restaurant, The Club, with other artists.

1950 Begins Woman I; at nearly seven feet in height, it is his largest, completes in 1952. Participates with Alfred Barr in the Venice Biennale exhibition of younger American Painters in the U.S. Pavilion, June 8-October 15. Young Painters in the U.S. and France exhibits Woman (1949-1950) at the Sidney Janis Gallery. Joins symposium which writes letter of protest to New York Herald Tribune regarding the national jury of selection for the Metropolitan Museum of Art; group pickets the Museum and refuses to submit work. New York Herald Tribune calls the group “The Irascible Eighteen.” Protest is covered in numerous national magazines. Teaches at Yale School of Art until 1952. Helps title Franz Kline’s first one-man show.

1951 Excavation is exhibited in Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America at the Museum of Modern Art, January 23 – March 25. Speaks at symposium organized by the Museum of Modern Art. Holds one-man show at Egan Gallery in April, with limited sales and no proceeds after expenses. Participates inNinth Street Exhibition. Receives financial support from Sidney Janis, contingent upon agreement to call his studio the Janis Gallery. Excavation wins $4,000 first prize in the 60th Annual American Exhibition: Paint and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. One of 20 artists exhibited in the American Vanguard Art for Paris exhibition at Sidney Janis Gallery, December 26 – January 5, 1952.

1952 Abandons Woman I, but revisits at the urging of art historian Meyer Sharpiro in June; completes in mid-June, but begins reworking in December. Starts several new “Woman” works. Elaine accompanies him to the Hamptons. Moves to 88 East 10th Street; spends much time with Harold Rosenberg. Meets art student Joan Ward, who becomes pregnant; the pregnancy is aborted.


Woman I, 1950. Oil on canvas, 192.7×147.3. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

1953 Officially changes studio name to Janis Gallery. Exhibits small retrospective at the Workshop Center for the Arts in Washington and School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. First show at Sidney Janis Gallery opens in March. Drinking increases, as does continual reworking of paintings.

1954 Participates in Venice Biennale with Excavation; becomes famous as leading Abstract Expressionism artist. Has affair with Marisol Escobar. Rents house in Bridgehampton in the summer with Elaine, Ward, Ludwig Sander, and Franz Kline. Sells pictures to Martha Jackson and uses money for fare for his mother to visit. Begins painting abstract landscapes, using bright “circus colors.”

1955 Joan Ward becomes pregnant.

1956 Ward gives birth to Johanna Lisbeth (Lisa) de Kooning on January 29. Has second one-man show at Sidney Janis Gallery, April 3; the show is a sell-out. Jackson Pollock and Edith Metzger die in car crash August 11. Elaine returns from Europe and joins de Kooning, Ward and Lisa at Martha’s Vineyard.

1957 Has affair with Pollock’s widow, Ruth Kligman. Later has affair with actress Shirley Stoler; allegedly offers her painting, which she refuses. Creates abstract landscapes, continues “Woman” art from 1957- 1961.


Two figures in landscape. Oil. National Galleyr of Australia. Painting.

1958 Takes Ruth Kligman to Cuba in February; they drift apart but reunite and spend early summer at Martha’s Vineyard together. Meets attorney Lee Eastman. Travels to Europe to meet Kligman. Hires Bernard Reis as accountant in May.

1959 Moves studio to 831 Broadway. Monograph on de Kooning by Thomas B. Hess is published by Braziller in New York. Sidney Janis Gallery opens exhibition of new large abstractions on May 4; all pieces sell. Woman series and some urban landscapes are shown at The New American Painting as shown in 8 European Countries 1958-1959 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, May 28 – September 8. Buys 4.2 acres in the Springs of Long Island on June 23. Stays with Kligman in Rome from July 28 until January 1960, where he begins working with black enamel mixed with pumice, also produces several collages. Ward moves to San Francisco with Lisa. Work is featured in Sixteen Americans exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, December 16 – February 17, 1960.

1960 Michael Sonnabend and Robert Snyder make film documentary which features Sketchbook No. 1: Three Americans. Returns from Italy and hires young California artist Dane Dixon as assistant. Grove Press publishes De Kooning, by Harriet Janis and Rudi Blesh. Spends summer in Southhampton. Visits Joan Ward and Lisa in San Francisco; visits galleries and does lithographs in Berkelely. Convinces Ward to return to New York. Drinking escalates.


Waves, 1960. Lithograph, 109x73cm, Yale University Gallery. Print.

1961 Buys more land in the Springs. Has affair with Marina Ospina.

1962 Becomes American citizen. March exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery fails. Meets Mera McAlister in March; affair lasts until winter. Sidney Janis allows Allan Stone to handle some small works; Newman- De Kooning, an exhibition of two founding fathers opens at the Allan Stone Gallery at 48 East 86th Street, October 23. The New Realists group show runs October 31 – December 1 at the Sidney Janis Gallery. Elaine paints portrait of President Kennedy for the Harry S. Truman Library.

1963 Moves back to the Springs in March, resides with Ward and Lisa. Later moves to East Hampton, Long Island. PaintsClam Diggers. Begins affair with neighbor Susan Brockman in the summer; moves in with Brockman and her friend, Clare Hooten. Later moves with Brockman to cottage on Barnes Landing, then to house owned by Bernice D’Vorazon. Later stays with John and Rae Ferren, then rents home near studio on Woodbine Drive. Splits from Brockman, but reunites in winter. Is hospitalized for alcoholism, but drinks again after release. Produces only one painting, Two Standing Women.

1964 Plans 1968 retrospective with Eduard de Wilde from the Stedelijk Museum in Holland. Ward and Lisa move to 3rd Avenue apartment. Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom in September. Becomes friends with art collector Joseph Hirshhorn. Harold Rosenberg writes profile for Vogue magazine.

1965 The Institute of Contemporary Art features de Kooning inThe Decisive Years, 1943 to 1953, exhibiting January 13 – February 19. Ends relationship with Sidney Janis, resulting in multiple lawsuits. Rents cottage with Brockman in the spring; relationship ends shortly thereafter. Accepts retrospective at Smith College, April 8 – May 2. Gives paintings to Ward and Lisa; draws up will, leaving most of his money to Lisa. Personal assistant John McMahon becomes part-time employee; Michael Wright is hired. Intermittent hospitalizations for alcoholism. Has affair with Molly Barnes. Police Gazette sells for $37,000, October 13.

1966 Enters Southampton Hospital for alcoholism in January. Attends Lisa’s birthday party in New York. Becomes involved with anti-war protests, grows hair. Draws Women Singing I,Women Singing II, and Screaming Girls.

1967 Walker and Company publishes 24 charcoal drawings produced in 1966. Joins prestigious New York gallery M. Knoedler and Company to start contemporary art department. Eastman negotiates $100,000 annual guarantee for first refusal of work. Provides 22 additional paintings on August 4, including several of the Women on the Sign series. Ward and Lisa return to the Springs. First exhibition at M. Knoedler and Company opens November 10; works include Woman Sag Harbour, Woman Accobanac, Woman Springs, and Woman, Montaulk. Despite negative reviews, some sell. Enters Southampton Hospital for alcoholism in December.

1968 Michael Wright resigns. Visits Europe, returns to Holland for major retrospective at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, accompanied by Ward, Lisa, and Leo Cohan. (Exhibition begins there September 18, travels to London on December 8, then New York, March 5 – April 26, 1969.) Sees sister, Marie, and step-brother, Koos Lassoy; they visit their mother September 19, who dies October 8. Has car crash on Thanksgiving after drinking, he and Ward survive.

1969 Retrospect of 147 paintings, pastels, collages and drawings is held at the Museum of Modern Art, March 5 – April 26, to mixed reviews. Begins renovations of home with Ward in spring. Takes Brockman to Italy in summer; upon return, stays with her and visits Ward and Lisa. Begins sculpting in bronze. Hires David Christian to make enlarged experimental version of previous small work, Seated Woman.

1970 Visits Japan. Works on lithography; produces Love to Wakako and Mr. and Mrs. Krishner. Has affair with Emilie (Mimi) Kilgore in August; proclaims true love.


Minnie Mouse, 1971. Lithograph, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Print.


Landscape at Stanton Street, 1971. Lithograph, 75.8x56cm. Art Gallery of New South Wales. Print.

1971 Sculpts Clam Digger. Moves back into studio in August. Exhibits Seven by de Kooning at the Museum of Modern Art in December.

1972 Takes Mimi to attend the Venice Bienne in June. Has final exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery (part of legal settlement) in October. Lisa moves to New York, residing with de Kooning before taking apartment at 3rd Avenue and 10th Street.

1973 Enters Southampton Hospital with liver and pancreas damage in February. Undergoes rehabilitation in October and November.

1974 Traveling exhibition is organized by Fourcade, Droll. Inc., which runs until early 1977. Woman V sells for $850,000 in September, a record price for a living American artist. Dane Dixon becomes full-time assistant after McMahon leaves.

1975 Exhibits in Japan and Paris. Proposes to Kilgore, who declines. Completes 24 works in six months. Exhibits at Fourcade, Droll, Inc. in October.


Two Trees, 1975. Oil on canvas. Thought Factory. Painting.

1976 Hirshhorn Museum and the U.S. Information Agency organize major traveling exhibition to tour eleven cities in Europe. Xavier Fourcade becomes exclusive art dealer of de Kooning; mounts show of 12 new works, to favorable reviews.

1977 Attends Alcoholics Anonymous with Elaine.

1978 Willem de Kooning in East Hampton exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, February 10 – April 23, is successful. American Art at Mid-Century: The Subjects of the Artist exhibit features de Kooning at the opening of the new East Building of the National Gallery in Washington in May. Goes on binge in June after several friends, including Harold Rosenberg and Thomas Hess, die.

1979 Stops painting. Drinking continues.

1980 Works becomes graphic. From 1980 to 1987, Tom Ferrarra is assistant.

1981 Lisa begins building house on studio grounds. Revises will to include Elaine as equal beneficiary with Lisa. Begins painting again in spring.

1982 February issue of Art News features Willem de Kooning: I Am Only Halfway Through, by Avis Berman; cover photograph of de Kooning ` and Paul McCartney taken by Linda Eastman, wife of McCartney and daughter of Lee Eastman. Dustin Hoffman films documentary, De Kooning on de Kooning forStrokes of Genius series in March. Attends premier. Also attends White House dinner to honor Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in April. New work is exhibited as New Paintings: 1981- 1982 at the Fourcade, Droll Gallery, March 17 – May 1.

1983 Finishes 54 paintings with the help of staff assistants. Is encouraged by Fourcade and Eastman to authorize enlarged photographs of sculptures. Untitled #2 is cast in a sterling silver, limited edition by Gemini Foundry in California. Allan Stone buys Two Women for $1.2 million in May. Willem de Kooning: Drawing, Paintings, Sculpture opens at the Whitney Museum of Art on December 15.

1984 Finishes 51 paintings. Receives commission to paint triptych for St. Peter’s Church in New York City; paintsHallelujah, which fails to receive hoped-for price of $900,000 and is taken down at the insistence of the congregation.

1985 Paints 63 pieces. Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease are apparent. Works with help from Elaine and assistants onUntitled XIII and Untitled XX. Last show at the Fourcade, Droll Gallery, Exhibition of de Kooning’s recent work from 1984-1985is held in October.

1986 Completes 43 works. Exhibition of Willem de Kooning’s work from 1983-1986 exhibits at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London.

1987 Does 26 paintings via projection of old sketches onto canvases by assistants. Pink Lady sells for $3.63 million. Xavier Fourcade dies of AIDS; de Kooning is not told. Elaine is diagnosed with lung cancer.

1988 Paints 27 paintings. Elaine authorizes a series of prints; encourages the changing of the will to make Lisa sole beneficiary. Attempt is blocked by Eastman, who remains executor. Elaine undergoes radiation treatments at Sloan-Kettering.

1989 Elaine dies at age 70; de Kooning is never told. Lisa and Eastman file petition declaring de Kooning incompetent. Eastman also attempts to become sole conservator, charging Lisa with mismanagement; court rules they remain co-conservators. Enters Southampton Hospital in May for a hernia operation, then in July for prostate surgery.

Untitled XXII, 1983. Oil on canvas, 70x80in. Saint Louis Museum of Art. Painting.

1990 Stops painting. Mini-retrospective, Willem de Kooning: An Exhibition of Paintings is held at the Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, September – October. De Kooning / Dubuffet: The Woman is shown at the Pace Gallery from December until January, 1991.

1993 Willem de Kooning from the Hirshhorn Museum Collection opens at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on October 21. Jennifer McLaughlin resigns; she is his final assistant.

1994 The Naitonal Gallery of Art in Washington exhibitsWillem de Kooning: Paintings, May – September 5.

1996 The Academie Van Beeldende Kunsten en Technishche Wetenschappen, where de Kooning studied in Amsterdam, officially changes its name to the Willem de Kooning Academy.

1997 Dies March 19, 1997 in the Springs. Funeral is attended by some 300 friends and associates, including Ruth Kligman, Susan Brockman, Molly Barnes, and Emilie Kilgore. Lisa is guest speaker.

_____________

 Great article

WILLEM de KOONING (1904–1997)

Asheville, 1948
Willem de Kooning’s Asheville takes its name from the North Carolina town near Black Mountain College where de Kooning taught in the summer of 1948. A small but extremely complex work, it gathers together numerous, often oblique allusions, including references to the college and sections that recall de Kooning’s early training in crafts such as marbling, woodgraining, and lettering.De Kooning’s works often blur the distinctions between drawings, studies, and paintings. Rather than the traditional academic progression from study to finished painting, de Kooning creates a constant flow and exchange of ideas and forms across different media. Four other versions ofAsheville show shapes similar to those found in The Phillips Collection’s painting, suggesting that de Kooning consciously refined the seemingly random forms of the Phillips painting through his manipulations of form in the related works.Asheville is an important example of de Kooning’s intricate experiments in “collage painting” of the late 1940s in which he used collage procedures, combining different materials such as torn paper and drawings to create illusions that might be used as a source for visual ideas. These techniques assisted the artist in working out a final composition that was free from any actual collaged elements. In the completed work, de Kooning created jumps and visual ruptures between passages that mimic collage. Additional deceptions in Asheville include the illusion of a tack holding a cut-out form at the upper left and a depiction of paper peeling from the surface to the left of what appears to be a mouth at the picture’s center.De Kooning enhanced these effects by scraping down and building up the surface of the painting numerous times. This layering blends spontaneity and measured thought, giving Asheville a look of immediacy and chance, though de Kooning actually constructed the painting thoughtfully over a number of months. In addition, he interspersed sinuous black lines throughout the work with a liner’s brush, a tool with unusually long brush hairs traditionally used by sign painters. These gestures of black tracery resemble the spontaneous, unconscious marks of Surrealism’s psychic automatism, but upon closer inspection they reveal de Kooning’s technical mastery of the brush and reflect his fascination with precise line.Content in Asheville is suggested through momentary glimpses of reality. The skyline noted near the upper-center edge of the painting suggests the Blue Ridge Mountains looming over the grounds of Black Mountain College. Beneath this passage is an area of blue that may refer to Lake Eden, which was adjacent to the school. Additional fragments include eyes, hands, and a mouth, as well as a window of green, an effective foil for the interplay between indoor and outdoor space in the picture.Central to de Kooning’s art is the ambiguity and multiplicity of meanings through appropriations and transformations of reality. At the time de Kooning painted Asheville, the abstract expressionists struggled to come to terms with a multiplicity of ideas: the emotional legacy of World War II, the heritage of modernism, and the array of influences available to them in New York. De Kooning responded to this flux of ideas and experiences with an extraordinary degree of self-conscious control. His depictions of collage in Asheville are characteristic of a measured approach that allowed him to respect older traditions of figuration, illusion and craft, while simultaneously engaging more radical modern idioms.

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