A wonderful way to prepare for a visit to this exhibition is to take a look at the very competent biography of de Kooning:
Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master. 2004. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
The book offers wonderful depictions of the artist at work in his studios that will only enhance the viewing of the works he produced in those studios.
Without reducing one to the other, the authors effectively make the point that de Kooning’s life is his work and that de Kooning’s work is his life. Also, in their very careful look at de Kooning, the most individualistic of painters, the authors bring to life an entire society and culture. We learn not only about de Kooning, but also about the key people in his life; other important figures; the cities and other places that he inhabited; and the important artistic, intellectual, and political trends of the time.
The final chapters of this big book that cover de Kooning’s final work about which there was much debate are fascinating. They display of the mix of people and the mix of motivations involved in the production of these late paintings and show us the inadequacy of many of the questions we ask about art and life. The authors successfully complicate how we think about art its authenticity.