1904 – 1997
Willem de Kooning was an abstract expressionist and action painter who is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th Century. Born Dutch, de Kooning emigrated first to Boston, then Hoboken, New York City and finally East Hampton. De Kooning’s early work consisted of figurative and still life compositions.
After 1930 he abandoned his formal approach and produced abstract expressionist paintings. De kooning’s early work was heavily influenced by his close friend Gorky. De Kooning’s works from the 50s and 60s were abstracted, graphic, fierce paintings of women which became his signature imagery. In 1978 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, mounted an exhibition of his recent work. In 1979, de Kooning received the Andrew W. Mellon Prize. De Kooning settled in the Springs, East Hampton, Long Island, in 1963. He was honored with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1997.