DE LOOPER: A RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION 1966 - 1996
Curated by Terry Gips and presented at The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland
November 7 - December 22, 1996
The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland in College Park presented
a thirty-year retrospective exhibition of the work of Willem de Looper,
Washington painter and former Chief Curator of the Phillips Collection.
It included an extensive selection of significant works--large paintings
as well as intimate works on paper, prints, and artist's books chronicling
his career as one of Washington DC's most important artists and key player
in the Washington Color School of painting.
De Looper's extensive oeuvre has consistently pursued formalist subjects of color, structure, and light. The artist has been prolific. At various points in his career, he produced as many as three new paintings of various sizes a day, for weeks at a time. Often, he substantially reworked canvases produced months before while producing new paintings. De Looper is frequently described as one of the principal heirs of the Washington Color School, also known in the critical literature as progenitors of "post painterly abstraction." The retrospective traced the persistence of de Looper's interest in solving formal problems in painting, as well as demonstrated the subtle transformations of his interest in shapes, edges, and the deployment of texture. A catalogue accompanied the exhibition. Howard Risatti, contemporary art historian and critic, and Professor of Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, authored the principal essay. The catalogue also features short tributes by several of de Looper's colleagues; a detailed chronology of his life and career, in the context of pivotal events in the history of the Washington art scene from the 1950s to the present; and reproductions of works in the exhibition.