Thomas B. Hess. Willem de Kooning. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London. New York, 1968, pp. 49, 161, no. 20, ill. (color), notes that this work originated as a sketch for the backdrop for the dance, "Labyrinth," performed by Marie Marchowsky on April 5, 1946, that the artist painted with Milton Resnick.
Gabriella Drudi. Willem de Kooning. Milan, 1972, p. 32, fig. 29 (color), calls it "Study for Backdrop (Labyrinth)".
Thomas B. Hess. Willem de Kooning: Drawings. Greenwich, Conn., 1972, pp. 32–33, 45, quotes the artist's description of making this work as if he were "opening vast room after room–'like Grand Central Station'–into the image".
Harold Rosenberg. De Kooning. New York, , colorpl. 43, calls it "Study for backdrop for 'Labyrinth'".
Jörn Merkert in Willem de Kooning: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Munich, 1983, p. 121, no. 158, ill. p. 157 (color).
Yves Michaud in Willem de Kooning. Exh. cat., Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. Paris, 1984, p. 19, ill. p. 69 (color).
Lisa M. Messinger in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1984–1985. New York, 1985, pp. 56–57, ill., calls it "Study for 'Labyrinth'".
Sally Yard. Willem de Kooning: The First Twenty–Six Years in New York. PhD diss., Princeton University. New York, 1986, pp. 145–47, 159, fig. 175, calls it "Study for Backdrop"; claims that this work and a related 1945 drawing were conceived independently and subsequently used as models for the backdrop of the ballet "Labyrinth" (1946, The Allan Stone Collection, New York City); relates Thomas Hess' recollection that de Kooning once told him the painting depicted the four angels of the Gates of Paradise and was influenced by the MMA's Boscoreale paintings (03.14.1–13a–g).
Hilton Kramer. "Though Exhibiting It Badly, Met Offers a Worthy de Kooning Show." New York Observer (August 28, 1989), p. 19.
Sally Yard. "The Angel and the Demoiselle: Willem de Kooning's 'Black Friday'." Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 50, no. 2 (1991), pp. 16, 25 n. 51, notes that the MMA calls it "Judgment Day [Labyrinth]"; relates that Elaine de Kooning stated that this work was not originaly created as a source for "Labyrinth" (MMA archive file).
Stephen Polcari. Abstract Expressionism and the Modern Experience. Cambridge, 1991, p. 277, fig. 215, calls it "Judgment Day (Labyrinth)".
Lisa Mintz Messinger. Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art, Atlanta. New York, 1992, pp. 18, 22, 24, fig. 5 (color), calls it "Judgment Day".
Judith Zilczer. Willem de Kooning from the Hirshhorn Museum Collection. Exh. cat., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. Washington D.C., 1993, p. 30.
Marla Prather in Willem de Kooning: Paintings. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1994, pp. 93–95, 102 nn. 9, 10, no. 8, ill. p. 107 (color).
Catherine Morris. The Essential Willem de Kooning. New York, 1999, pp. 51, 59, 94, ill. (color), calls it "Judgment Day (Backdrop for Labyrinth)".
Lisa M. Messinger. Expresionismo Abstracto: Obra Sobre Papel, Colección The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York. Exh. cat., Fundación Juan March. Madrid, 2000, p. 62, no. 24, ill. p. 63 (color).
Edvard Lieber. Willem de Kooning: Reflections in the Studio. New York, 2000, p. 29.
David Anfam. "De Kooning, Bosch and Bruegel: Some Fundamental Themes." Burlington Magazine 145 (October 2003), pp. 705, 709–11, 715, fig. 25 (color), posits that this work's title stems from the artist's interest in the old masters; suggests that this painting sparked an "extraordinary sequence of progressively all–over compositions" that culminates in "Attic" (1949, MMA 1982.16.3).
Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. De Kooning: An American Master. New York, 2004, pp. 225–28, ill.
John Elderfield. De Kooning: A Retrospective. Ed. David Frankel. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2011, pp. 121, 132, 135–38, 149, colorpl. 34, suggests that this painting is the artist's refutation of modern theories of light and space that were posited after the dropping of the atom bomb.
Lauren Mahoney in John Elderfield. De Kooning: A Retrospective. Ed. David Frankel. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2011, p. 195.
Delphine Huisinga in John Elderfield. De Kooning: A Retrospective. Ed. David Frankel. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2011, pp. 122–23.
Susan F. Lake in John Elderfield. De Kooning: A Retrospective. Ed. David Frankel. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2011, pp. 142–44, 298, ill. (color, detail, overall, and paint cross–section), describes the methods and materials used to make this painting and stresses their experimental nature.
Holland Cotter. "Unfurling a Life of Creative Exuberance." New York Times (September 16, 2011), p. C28.
Judith Zilczer. A Way of Living: The Art of Willem de Kooning. London, 2014, p. 71, fig. 83 (color), states that "the meaning of [this painting's] imagery remains deliberately mysterious".