Willem de Kooning

Door to the River
1960

On view
Floor 7

In the late 1950s, Willem de Kooning began dividing his time between New York and eastern Long Island, then a rural area. His paintings of this period, as he described them in 1960, reflect the change in his surroundings. “They’re emotions, most of them. Most of them are landscapes and highways and sensations of that, outside the city—with the feeling of going to the city or coming from it.” That same year he painted Door to the River, making his wide brushstrokes with housepainter’s brushes. The broad strokes of pink, yellow, brown, and white form a door-like rectangle in the center of the canvas, beneath which lies a passage of blue, perhaps evoking the river in the title. Floating amid vibrant space, the bold opening implies a sense of majestic other-worldiness. Confidently executed, Door to the River bears neither the marks of continual reworking characteristic of de Kooning’s earlier paintings nor the agitation and coloristic turbulence of his later work.

Artist
Willem de Kooning

Title
Door to the River

Date
1960

Classification
Paintings

Medium
Oil on linen

Dimensions
Overall: 80 1/8 × 70 1/8 in. (203.5 × 178.1 cm)

Accession number
60.63

Credit line
Purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Rights and reproductions information
© The Willem de Kooning Foundation/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



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