After spending the first half of the 1970s focused on sculpture and printmaking, de Kooning returned to painting with renewed vigor in 1975. In this untitled 1976 work, he lashes a page from the New York Times with oil paint, forming a smeared face that emerges from abstract surroundings of vigorous brushstrokes and unpainted sections of newspaper. De Kooning often used newspaper in his painting process. He pressed it against the surface of his canvases to keep the paint wet. He would also draw on newsprint and then transfer the drawings to his still-wet paintings by pressing the pages to the canvases. The thinness of the pages did not allow for as much reworking as the robust canvas did, fostering spontaneity. Here de Kooning’s hand is fast and light, and the composition has an airy freshness uncommon in his paintings on canvas.
Additional text from In The Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting online course, Coursera, 2017