Untitled V, 1986

Untitled V was created during de Kooning’s “late style”, a period that began around 1980 and continued until the artist stopped painting in 1991. Here, we see a move away from the aggressive handling and heavy application of paint, as seen in Woman Standing—Pink, to one that appears more lyrical and fluid. The emphasis seems to be on the rhythm of color, line and form shown silhouetted against a toned white field. In speaking about de Kooning’s work from this period, the noted curator John Elderfield remarked:

“De Kooning truly reinvented himself in these extraordinary canvases. He had the confidence to give up the lush painterliness and visibly reworked appearance of his earlier works in favor of something more reductive; but they remain not only spatially complex, but also extremely physical pictures, both visually open and densely embodied.”