de Kooning: Flying Blind

Willem de Kooning, Untitled, 1966, detail. Charcoal on paper, 10 x 8 inches (Mus
Willem de Kooning, Untitled, 1966, detail. Charcoal on paper, 10 x 8 inches (Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Jan Christiaan Braun in honor of Rudi Fuchs)

Thomas Micchelli discusses the "blind" drawings of Willem de Kooning, now on view in the exhibition Eyes Closed/Eyes Open: Recent Acquisitions in Drawings at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, through January 7, 2012.

Micchelli writes: "De Kooning’s hand... feels out the image in two dimensions, creating space and volume that exists in its own enclosed precinct. I speculate that the sensation would not be far removed from the way he squeezed clay between his fingers to make his gangly, clotted sculptures, which were always one or two steps removed from being bas-reliefs. These drawings would be marvelous by any standard; that they were done blindly is astonishing. The sensitivity of touch, the rawness of the sexuality, the tactility of the forms, the wit and invention of the imagery, and the ethereal gradations of the charcoal line are masterful even by de Kooning’s very high bar."