Willem de Kooning

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Related to Willem de Kooning: Abstract Expressionism, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko

de Kooning, Willem

(də ko͞o`nĭng), 1904–97, American painter, b. Netherlands; studied Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques. De Kooning immigrated to the United States, arriving as a stowaway in 1926 and settling in New York City, where he worked on the Federal Arts Project (1935). He began experiments with abstraction as early as 1928, but continued to produce realistic paintings throughout the 1930s, and he later oscillated between an abstracted figuration and pure abstraction. Influenced by Arshile GorkyGorky, Arshile
, c.1900–48, American painter, b. Armenia as Vosdanig Adoian. He escaped the Turkish slaughter of Armenians, emigrated to the United States in 1920, studied at Boston's New School of Design, and moved to New York City in 1925.
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, de Kooning forged a powerful abstract style and in the 1940s became a leader of abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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. In his monumental series of the early 1950s entitled Woman, he reintroduced a representational element. Woman I (1950–52; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City), with its startling ferocity, brought him considerable notice and some notoriety. He subsequently reverted chiefly to nonfigurative work, but during the 1960s, when he moved to Long Island, he also produced more paintings of women as well as many works with landscape elements. In this period de Kooning also created semiabstract sculptural figures in bronze and several lithographs. He created a dazzling group of painterly abstractions in the 1970s.

Slashed with color and formed with eloquent brushstrokes, de Kooning's often huge canvases are charged with explosive energy; many are widely considered masterpieces of abstract expressionism. His last works, produced (1980–90) when he was increasingly affected by Alzheimer's disease, include hundreds of large canvases in elegantly composed configurations; their elements are pared down, and their limited, mainly primary colors form sinuously intertwining ribbons. In some sense, de Kooning's art endured amid his encroaching dementia until he stopped painting in mid-1990. He was married to Elaine Fried de Kooning, 1920–89, b. New York City, who, though overshadowed by her famous spouse, was a skilled painter, particularly adept at portraiture, mainly self-portraits and sensual portraits of men. She also painted many works in the abstract expressionist style.


See biographies by H. F. Gaugh (1983), L. Hall (1993, repr. 2000), and M. Stevens and A. Swan (2004); studies by H. Rosenberg (1974), D. Waldman (1978 and 1988), D. Cateforis (1994), D. Sylvester et al. (1994), G. Garrels and R. Storr (1995), S. Yard (1997), K. Kertess et al. (1998), C. Morris (1999), E. Liever (2000), and S. F. Lake (2010); for Elaine de Kooning, see M. Gabriel, Ninth Street Women (2018).

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de Kooning, Willem

(1904–  ) painter; born in Rotterdam, Holland. He came to America in 1926, and is considered, along with Jackson Pollock, a leader in abstract expressionism, the New York-based school of painting that rejected naturalistic content. Examples of this period include his dramatic Black Paintings (1946–48), which were limited to black-and-white colors using enamel and oil paints. His later work became increasingly figurative, and The Woman series, beginning in 1950, brought him notoriety due to his brutal and often erotic treatment of his subject matter.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
<B Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce with three portraits - from left, 'Portrait of a Child', attributed to Willem de Kooning, 'Portrait of Lady', attributed to Philippe Mercier, and 'The Old General', attributed to Adolph von Menzel - they helped investigate in the final programme of the latest series of Fake or Fortune
BEIRUT: In the middle of the 20th century American artist Robert Rauschenberg approached an older colleague, Dutch-born abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, and asked if he could erase one of his drawings.
(Although not discussed, this practice was first utilized by Willem de Kooning much earlier in his development.)
WILLEM DE KOONING (Dutch/American, 1904-1997), Woman, 1965, Signed de Kooning-, signed Willem de Kooning, dated 1965 and inscribed to Barbara and Roy/Goodman/East Hampton on notecard affixed to the reverse, Oil on paper laid to panel, 19 x 24 inches.
New paintings by North Wales-born Meirion Ginsberg who is inspired by the characters in his everyday life and fuses a range of influences from Francis Bacon to Willem de Kooning at Martin Tinney Gallery, St Andrews Crescent, until tomorrow.
The fact that works by Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Willem de Kooning sold for $4 million or more this year during Frieze Week speaks volumes.
The complaint says that in 1994 the gallery bought at least one painting attributed to Willem de Kooning from Masaccio.
One of the first works a visitor to the Gallery of Lost Art encounters is a drawing by Willem de Kooning. Most would not immediately think of this drawing as "lost," or even worthy of art historical consideration in its own right: it served as the basis for Robert Rauschenberg's "Erased de Kooning" (1953), the seminal conceptual gesture in which the younger artist created a new work of art by negating a sketch by the renowned Abstract Expressionist.
She later moved to Long Island, New York, where she associated with Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning.
Jackson Pollock's lyrical drip paintings, Mark Rothko's sumptuous and hypnotic fields of color, and Willem de Kooning's aggressive slashes couldn't be more unlike Lichtenstein's paintings, which hung on the walls of Manhattan's Leo Castelli Gallery.