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Willem de Kooning

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I met a lot of artists – but then I met Gorky. I had some training in Holland, quite a training, the Academy. Gorky didn’t have that at all. He came from no place; he came here (US) when he was sixteen, from Tiflis in Georgia, with an Armenian upbringing. And for some mysterious reason, he knew lots more about painting and art – he just knew it by nature... He had an extraordinary gift for hitting the nail on the head; very remarkable. So I immediately attached myself to him and we became very good friends. It was nice to be foreigners meeting in some new place.
interview conducted by David Sylvester for the BBC, 1962; as quoted in Abstract Expressionism, Creators and Critics, edited by Clifford Ross, Abrahams Publishers, New York 1990, p. 44

Willem de Kooning

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