TABLE OF CONTENTS

books

De Kooning: An American Master

IN WRITING THEIR large-scale biography of Willem de Kooning, Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan evidently faced several major difficulties. The first is that, notwithstanding his majestic creative achievements, de Kooning led a rather uneventful life. True, there was his adventure in 1926 as a stowaway aboard a dirty British ship that got him to the United States, plus the numerous affairs that, in later years, were increasingly interspersed with his drunken binges. But a boat trip, copious lovemaking, and booze do not a biography of more than seven hundred pages make––or at least not a gripping one. By the time I reached the last page of De Kooning: An American Master, my feeling was not that it was a bad read or even an altogether boring one––on the contrary, the narrative is comprehensive and has some fine moments, especially when addressing the artist’s poignant last decade (other than

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the special holiday rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price. You’ll receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.