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Art Diary

Willem de Kooning and Italy

14 April 2024

Willem de Kooning made two trips to Italy in his lifetime: one in 1959 and another 10 years later. These sojourns in the Mediterranean had a profound influence on the artist and inspired a fascination with sculpture that he pursued for the rest of his career. So argues an exhibition at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, which is displaying some 75 works by the Abstract Expressionist produced between the 1950s and ’80s (17 April–15 September). They include angular black and white drawings made in the Italian capital, known as the Rome series; experimental bronze sculptures; and examples of de Kooning’s Pastoral Landscapes, such as Villa Borghese, made after his return to New York in 1960. According to the director of the Gallerie, this is the first exhibition of the artist’s work to be held in Italy in more than 18 years and the largest in the country to date. Find out more from the Gallerie dell’Accademia’s website.

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Villa Borghese (1960), Willem de Kooning. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; © the Willem de Kooning Foundation, SIAE 2024

Untitled (Rome) (1959), Willem de Kooning. Renee & Chaim Gross, New York; © the Willem de Kooning Foundation, SIAE 2024

Untitled #12 (1969), Willem de Kooning. Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas. © the Willem de Kooning Foundation, SIAE 2024