WILLEM DE KOONING | Untitled VI, 1975 | oil on canvas
Sold for $12,402,500 at the Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 10 May 2012, New York. [Video]
That’s what fascinates me—to make something I can never be sure of, and no one else can either. I will never know, and no one else will ever know… That’s the way art is. (Willem de Kooning, 1972, from an interview with Harold Rosenberg, de Kooning Paintings: 1960-1980, Ostfildern-Ruit, 2005, p. 154).
In the late 1960s, as his ever-widening mastery of abstract painting began to cross into new realms, Willem de Kooning conceived a series of breathtaking pictures. Termed the “abstract landscapes”, these canvases are rich with an assortment of color in both thickly applied line and viscous, saturated patches. Yet, as de Kooning advanced into the early 1970s, his prolific series soon reached a dormant stage as experiments in sculpture and other mediums began to overtake the majority of his artistic output. At this point, as his personal challenges and frustrations grew more obvious in his work, de Kooning sensed a great need to begin again the most spectacular form of his own brand of Abstract Expressionism. In 1975, de Kooning made a triumphant return to the abstract landscapes, creating them with more sensitivity and bravado than ever before. Untitled VI, 1975, is a shining example of this series at its most glowing and beautiful height.