Willem de Kooning, "Woman I," 1950-52, Oil on Canvas
Kooning worked with a realistic style of painting until he mastered his craft and ventured into the realm of abstract expressionism. Throughout his career, he developed a series of "Woman" paintings, all modeled after Venus of Willendorf. As is the case in "Woman I," Kooning was notorious for his bright color schemes, focusing on shades of yellows, pinks, and other bold hues. Often times, figures in the background become mangled together to form an incoherent series of objects adding to the abstraction of his work and confusing the juxtaposition between foreground and background. In this series, Kooning creates an abstract image of "woman," clarifying the "woman parts" of the image, which are easily as identifiable in the original Venus of Willendorf sculpture. The collection seems to contradict focal points of beauty in society, ironically focusing on realism through abstraction.