Woman, de Kooning, 1948

Oil and enamel on fiberboard.

At first glance she’s almost frightening. The harsh, dripping nature of the ink outline of her dress gives the whole piece a rather crude, unfinished look. But it’s obvious by the content of the painting that it actually is finished.
The woman’s left eye is wide and cartoon-like, while her right is blurred and blinded by a huge star above her, morphing the entire space where her eye would be into a deliberate reflection of the star’s dark light. The other elements of her face are scratched out in a similarly eerie fashion, with her nose mostly nostril and her mouth mostly teeth. The empty, colorless outline of a house behind her is only background, the past, forgotten. Especially when confronted with her rounded irregular breasts magnified by their foreground presence, and bright off-putting hues of purple, pink, turquoise, and orange. The pale, sick yellow of her willowy hair mirrors the yellow of the star that she seems to be so enthralled with.

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