Untitled (Quatre Lithographies)


Medium: Lithographs

Sheet size: 28 1/4 x 24 5/8 inches, each

Frame size: 36 1/2 x 33 1/16, each

Printer: Art Estampe, Paris

Publisher: Éditions de la Différence, Paris

Edition size: 100, plus proofs

Each sheet is signed, dated, and numbered in pencil, lower margin

The complete portfolio of 4 lithographs, which retains the title page,
colophon with edition number in pencil, and the original blue
linen-covered portfolio lettered in silver ‘WILLEM DE KOONING’

More details

The 1980’s announced a period of renewal. As paralleled in his paintings, de Kooning’s prints in the 1980’s reflected a sense of linear consistency and movement. Quatre Lithographies, a suite of four related lithographs, embodies the virtuosity and ebullience that characterized the artist’s late style. Published in 1986 by the French book publisher Éditions de la Différence, the set features de Kooning’s mature probing of color and form, embracing a primary color palette with pure and reductive forms. The sinuous ribbons of vivid yellows, reds, and blues which unravel across the composition, translate the vigor of his earlier work into a joyous, active lyricism. These traits of lightness and movement are reminiscent of the works of Henri Matisse, an artist that deeply influenced de Kooning in the later years of his life. As de Kooning explained in 1980, “Lately I’ve been thinking that it would be nice to be influenced by Matisse, I mean he’s so lighthearted. I have a book about how he was old and he cut out colored patterns and he made it so joyous. I would like to do that, too–not like him, but joyous, more or less.” (Stevens and Swan, de Kooning: An American Master, New York, 2004). 

Of the few lithographs produced by de Kooning late in his career, Quatre Lithographies is undoubtedly of the most complete and visually engaging, directly reflecting the artist’s recommitment to sentiments of movement, lightness, and joy.