Willem de Kooning

American (born Netherlands) , 1904 - 1997

Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning began his artistic training at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten en Technische Wetenschappen, in Rotterdam. For eight years, he attended classes there while working for a commercial art firm. In 1926, de Kooning emigrated to the United States, eventually settling in New York, where he met artists Stuart Davis, Arshile Gorky, and John Graham. He supported himself with commercial work until being employed by the WPA from 1935-1937, after which he devoted himself to the art of painting. His most famous works are generally depictions of women, a subject to which he returned throughout his career.

Though most widely known as a painter, de Kooning also produced a small body of work in sculpture and print. His prints are mostly lithographs, and were almost exclusively intended to accompany or commemorate the poetic works of his friends, such as “Untitled” (1967, made for a tribute to the poet Frank O’Hara) and “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” (1984, made for an edition of poet John Ashbery’s work of the same name).
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