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Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) is known as one of the foremost members of the New York School, which emerged post World War II in the United States. The vernacular term was Abstract Expressionism or Action Painting. De Kooning's work was all about the emotion of the paint, the process of painting;  the surface and the stroke. Other members of the loosely-formed group included Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, Richard Pousette-Dart, Clyfford Still, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Anne Ryan and Hedda Sterne. 

Born in Rotterdam, Holland in 1904, de kooning stowed away on a steamer from Europe to the United States in 1926. He moved from Virginia, where he landed, up the east coast  settling in the New York City area. He worked for the WPA during the mid 1930's in the 'department of murals.' Here he was able to concentrate solely on his painting. De Kooning married his studio assistant, Elaine Fried, in 1943. Willem and his wife, Elaine, separated in the late 1950's, but reunited in the 1970's. They were together until her death in 1989. De Kooning, himself, died from Alzheimer's disease in 1997. 

De Kooning is probably most well-known for his Woman series. These paintings retained roots in traditional portraiture as he blended Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism into every work. He continued to return to this subject for more than three decades, starting in the 1940's.

Although he always looked to the Old Masters more than most of his peers, he was considered by many as one of the most influential practitioners of the New York School after Jackson Pollock. The quality of his output was consistently high even to the end of his life.   His received recognition, acclaim and acknowledgement for his life long achievements.

Collect a select group of de Kooning's original works with GALLERY M today.