Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My de Kooning

My de Kooning, 2011

This is about one of those times when it paid to keep a picture instead of throwing it away.

I went to a car wash a few months ago. I don't do this often. So it's a treat to sit in the car while the machine pivots around and does the heavy lifting. Sometimes I read while this is going on. But on this particular day I was just watching.

At a point I noticed the colorful swirl of soap on the window beside me seen in the picture above. The only camera I had was the one in my phone. I grabbed it up quickly and took this and a couple of other similar shots before the car wash machine came back around and rinsed the soap off.

There was no great meaning to the picture. If I’d given it much thought I might have fiddled with the aperture setting. But you don’t have that choice with a phone cam, and for reasons unknown I wasn’t compelled to change the image in post-processing.

This picture and the others like it sat in a “pending” file for months. I didn’t know what to do with it. Being a phone cam image, it doesn’t bear much enlargement. But I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out, either. Eventually I moved the file into an even deeper photo purgatory, pledging to myself to come back at a later date and decide whether to keep it or discard it.

And that’s where it stayed until the other day, when I happened to see an ad in an art magazine for an auction house, I believe it was, offering the Willem de Kooning painting Amityville for sale.

Then it all made sense. I’ve always enjoyed de Kooning. I honestly don’t believe, though, that I’d ever seen Amityville before. But if you’re the kind of person who’s always looking at art in books, magazines, museums and anywhere else visual imagery appears, who’s to say what you remember and don’t remember and what influences you and what doesn’t?

Amityville – Willem de Kooning, 1971


  1. Classic! I love your de Kooning. Good eye.

  2. Could be a Morris Louis, too. You do have a great eye, although on first quick reading of Sue's comment, I thought she said "... I love your de Kooning. Good bye."

  3. Really has more resemblance to the pictures that De Kooning painted in his later years, the gesture was less aggressive and more studied composition. Honestly, I prefer the original work of De Kooning that those colors on glass.