American, born Netherlands, 1904-1997
While Willem de Kooning's paintings often look as though the artist worked very quickly, the opposite is in fact true. Although he did create his images spontaneously, without preparatory drawings, he placed each mark with careful consideration. The next day he often reworked what he had previously done. Since wet paint is much easier to manipulate, de Kooning often covered the surface at night with newspaper to slow down the drying process. Occasionally the newsprint would transfer to the work’s surface; when this happened, he either painted over it or decided he liked the effect and left it. Gotham News is in some ways an expression of life in New York, where de Kooning was living at the time: crowded, confusing, and violent to some people, while exciting, colorful, and energetic to others. And, for many, this city is a mixture of both these circles of sentiment. "Gotham" is the New York–equivalent setting of the Batman comics, and "News" undoubtedly refers to the newsprint seen on the lower left and top center of the canvas.