A tour de force of Willem de Kooning’s gestural style, Easter Monday (1955-56) bristles with energy. Angled forms and lines collide, overlap and penetrate one another, while transferred newsprint, particularly visible at the bottom and top right, enforces a tenuous, grid-like structure. The work appears to be in simultaneous processes of creation and destruction, a perpetual state of both realization and erasure that finds some analogy in the continuous growth and decay of nature.
Named for the day on which de Kooning completed it in 1956, Easter Monday is the largest of ten monumental works that he exhibited that spring. Critic Thomas Hess likened the group to “abstract urban landscapes,” and Easter Monday does seem to reference the whirling pace and gritty detritus of the modern city.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera currently on extended view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.