Willem de Kooning’s Women: A Psychoanalytic Exploration
Author: Graeme J. Taylor
Published by International Psychoanalytic Books (ipbooks.net), New York, May 2022.
Graeme Taylor has written the first full-length psychological study of the Dutch-American abstract painter Willem de Kooning. His particular focus is on the renowned Woman paintings of the early 1950's, among the most emotionally powerful images of the female figure of the 20th century. Utilizing recently available biographical details of the artist's childhood and adolescence, Dr. Taylor brings to bear his deep understanding of the most germane psychoanalytic theories of early infantile trauma, attachment theory, and the repetition compulsion to arrive at a sympathetic comprehension of de Kooning’s relationship with his mother, his wife, his daughter, and the succession of lovers he maintained for the duration of his life. Dr. Taylor has a gift for conveying the essence of some highly sophisticated psychoanalytic perspectives, from Freud to Bowlby to Bollas and others, in a marvellously clear style, highlighting their relevence to understanding the unconscious determinants of de Kooning’s obsession with the figure of the Woman, as well as the dynamics of his creative process in the making of these iconic images.
It is a wonderful achievement and a worthy contribution, both to the literature of modern art and to the psychoanalytic study of the creative personality.
- Steven Poser, PH.D., Psychoanalyst, author, and award-winning painter, New York
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