Willem de Kooning

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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).

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
The couple travelled to Miami with art expert Philip Mould to examine the picture next to with a verified de Kooning from around the same period.
De Kooning agreed, and in so doing collaborated in one of the pivotal, certainly one of the more amusing, moments in the history of contemporary art.
In the wake of two particular sources, Ann Eden Gibson's revisionist arguments in Abstract Expressionism: Other Politics (1997), where Elaine (interviewed by Gibson) was a key player in the author's endeavor to enlarge the movement by including more women, gay practitioners and racial "others" working in New York in the 1940s and 1950s, and Stahr's 2003 Genders article based on her dissertation, "Elaine de Kooning, Portraiture and the Politics of Sexuality," analyzing the provocative nature of her signature presentation of men in a spread-legged pose, Elaine has become the sole subject or an extended case study in at least three additional doctoral theses by younger women scholars in more recent years.
In order to discuss Mailer as a new expressionist who straddled realism and the surreal in creating a provocative and profound portrait of women, he is best aligned with another twentieth-century artist of Mailer's time, Willem de Kooning, a painter who loved women even as he seemed to mutilate them on the canvas.
Picasso, Hopper, and Wyeth generated depth using precisely those techniques, while de Kooning, Klimt, and Stella accentuated flatness.
Smith, for example, came from the Midwest; Pollock, from cowboy country, via California; de Kooning from Holland; and Gorky from Armenia, although he claimed to be Russian.
Previous award recipients include such luminaries as Edward Albee, Alan Alda, Lauren Bacall, Alec Baldwin, Louis Begley, Chuck Close, Cy Coleman, Willem de Kooning, Eric Fischl, Jane Freilicher, April Gornik, Sheldon Harnick, Billy Joel, Sidney Lumet, Itzhak Perlman, Cindy Sherman, Steven Spielberg, Robert A.
Along with Willem De Kooning, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, and others, he elevated the act of painting, advocating that it should be as direct and fundamental as what it was trying to express and that it could, itself, promote emotional expression.
The work is influenced by many male, heavyweight painters including Goya, Bacon and De Kooning and recurrent themes are sex, flesh and figures in ambiguous landscapes.
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) Marilyn Monroe 1954 Oleo sobre tela, 127 x 76,2 cm.
Among the artists represented in this exhibition are John Singleton Copley, Elaine de Kooning, Alice Ned, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, and Andy Warhol.
Willem de Kooning was one of the greatest painters of last century.