Sunday, July 24, 2005

Kline, de Kooning, Ruth's Zowie!

I first compared de kooning to Gorky, then to his wife Elaine, but now I turn to Kline. It is important to see how artists influence each other because sometimes in the moment, the comparisons don't seem apparent. De Kooning's early mentor was Gorky but later after de Kooning making a name for himself and the unfortunate death of Gorky, de Kooning befriended Franz Kline. 
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Franz Kline: Henry H II, 1959-60
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de Kooning: Ruth's Zowie, 1957

Interesting story about the title "Ruth's Zowie".  De Kooning was "seeing" Ruth Kligman at the time of the painting.  Ruth had dated Jackson Pollock and was in the car the night Pollock crashed after drinking heavily as usual.  Pollock died along with killing Edith Metzger but Ruth survived the crash.  Later Ruth met de Kooning and the two began an affair.  One day coming into de Kooning's studio, Ruth exclaimed, "Zowie", which was a common street slang at the time used by a lot of NY artists.  De Kooning liked the criticism and named the painting "Ruth's Zowie".


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