Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning (1904-1977, Netherlands) was a Dutch-American painter associated with the New York School abstract expressionism movement of the 1940’s and 50’s. At the outset of his career, de Kooning was influenced by modernist artistic movements such as Cubism and Surrealism. After immigrating to the US, in his twenties, he began creating abstract paintings based on the local scene. Although mostly known for his abstract paintings, characterized by their fragmentation, de Kooning never completely abandoned the figure-background relation in his works. Among his most well-known works are his paintings of women, in which he used a technique of abstraction to dismantle and recompose his models, combining background and figure with his own physical gestures that attest to his state of mind. In 1953 the painter Robert Rauschenberg purchased a de Kooning drawing, erased it and exhibited the empty paper as his own work –a gesture that marked the “killing of the father” of the New York School. De Kooning’s works are on show in international modern art collections.

Further information: dekooning.org

Willem de Kooning, Two Women, 1959, Ink on paper

Willem de Kooning, Two Women, 1967, Watercolour and pencil on paper

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