Thomas B. Hess. Willem de Kooning. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1968, p. 49, ill. (color).
Jörn Merkert in Willem de Kooning: Drawing, Painting, Sculpture. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 1983, p. 121, no. 158, ill. p. 157 (color).
Lisa M. Messinger in Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1985–1986. New York, 1986, pp. 56–57, ill., calls it "Study for Labyrinth".
Sally Yard. Willem de Kooning: The First Twenty–Six Years in New York. New York, 1986, pp. 145–47, 159, fig. 175, calls it "Study for Backdrop"; claims that this painting was conceived as an independent work and subsequently used as a model for the backdrop the artist painted for his friend Marie Marchosky's ballet, Labyrinth (The Allan Stone Collection, New York City); relates how Thomas Hess recalled 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.
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.
Stephen Polcari. Abstract Expressionism and the Modern Experience. Cambridge, 1991, p. 277, fig. 215.
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. 22, 24, fig. 5 (color), quotes Elaine de Kooning claiming that this painting "is the source of the backdrop, not a study for it," referring to the backdrop for Marie Marchowsky's dance recital titled "Labyrinth" that the artist painted with Milton Resnick.
Marla Prather in Willem de Kooning: Paintings. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. Washington, 1994, pp. 93–95, 102 ns. 9–10, no. 8 (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 (October 2003), pp. 705–06, 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); claims that the artist's assistant, Milton Resnick, enlarged this painting for the backdrop for the ballet "Labyrinth".
Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. De Kooning: An American Master. New York, 2004, pp. 225–28, ill.
Nathan Kernan. Milton Resnick: A Question of Seeing, Paintings 1959–1963. Exh. cat., Cheim & Read. New York, 2008, n.p.
John Elderfield. de Kooning: a Retrospective. Ed. David Frankel. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 2011, pp. 121, 131–141, 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. 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, ill. (color, detail, overall, and paint cross–section), 298, describes the methods and materials the artist used to make this painting and stresses their experimental nature.
Holland Cotter. "Unfurling a Life of Creative Exuberance." New York Times (September 15, 2011), p. C28.
Judith Zilczer. A Way of Living: The Art of Willem de Kooning. London, 2014, p. 71, fig. 83 (color), states that this painting's imagery remains deliberately mysterious.