Elaine De Kooning

"March 12, 1918 – Feb. 1, 1989: Born in Brooklyn, NY, de Kooning was a successful painter, sculptor, draughtswoman, printmaker, writer, and wife of fellow artist Willem de Kooning. She studied in New York at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School, the American Art School, the Academy school, and with Willem de Kooning.

De Kooning was interested in both figurative and abstract art, acknowledging the influence of her husband and of the Abstract Expressionists of the New York School. Her first solo exhibition occurred at the Stable Gallery in New York in 1952 and she presented almost annually at numerous institutional and commercial galleries throughout the United States.

Portraits were an important part of De Kooning’s output, though she never considered them to her main focus as a painter. When producing portraits, she worked on several canvases at the same time, creating three or more versions of the same portrait."

While her artistic reputation was somewhat overshadowed by her husband’s fame, de Kooning was able to establish a name as an artist and as an art critic. As well, she taught at numerous institutions including Bard College, University of Georgia, University of Pennsylvania, University of California at Davis, in New York at the Cooper Union, Parsons School of Design, and Pratt Institute, and others.

... The significance of her practice, however, was enormous: she made her first abstract paintings in the mid-1940s and quickly moved to portraiture, combining the tenets of Abstract Expressionism with figuration — in doing so, carving her own niche within the movement.

‘Today, Elaine de Kooning is justly prized by the art world, both for her gestural portraits and for brilliant abstractions — each energetic...
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First Collected by

Stephanie Armstrong


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