Lévy Gorvy is pleased to present the first exhibition ever to pair the abstract landscapes of Chinese-French master Zao Wou-Ki (1920-2013) and Dutch-born American titan Willem de Kooning (1904-1997). With the full support of the Willem de Kooning Trust and the Fondation Zao Wou-Ki, this exhibition will inaugurate the new partnership of Dominique Lévy and Brett Gorvy, and will be the first presentation in their gallery’s expanded space at 909 Madison Avenue.
Zao Wou-Ki’s abstract landscapes entail a rethinking of the aesthetic terms defining man’s relationship to nature. Defying centuries of convention in Chinese art, Zao abandoned the subject in landscape painting while retaining a transcendental quality through his use of color, line, and scale. Conversely, Willem de Kooning arrived at the abstract landscape through a deep consideration of the figure. He began painting the female body as a kind of landscape: portraits liberated from form, with ground and body collapsing onto each other. Through the deployment of expressionist gestures that traverse his subjects with dividing lines and brilliant colors, de Kooning helped broaden the very idea of figurative painting.