Willem de Kooning

Dutch, American, 1904–1997

15k followers

Willem de Kooning

Bio

Dutch, American, 1904–1997

Followers
15k
Biography

A first-generation Abstract Expressionist, Willem de Kooning is one of the most important artists of the 20th century. In 1950s New York, when painters like Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline were moving away from representational imagery toward pure abstraction, de Kooning maintained a commitment to the figurative tradition, developing a signature style that fused vivid color and aggressive paint handling with deconstructed images of the female form—a then-controversial body of works that has become known as his “Women” paintings. “Flesh was the reason oil paint was invented,” he famously said. Influenced by Arshile Gorky and Pablo Picasso, de Kooning was often thought to have blended Cubism, Expressionism, and Surrealism in his signature style, paving the way for generations of gestural figurative painters like Cecily Brown. Following his “Women” series, de Kooning pursued non-objective lyrical abstraction until his death in 1997.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$66m, Christie's, 2016
User
Solo show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 7 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 12 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
documenta
Biography

A first-generation Abstract Expressionist, Willem de Kooning is one of the most important artists of the 20th century. In 1950s New York, when painters like Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline were moving away from representational imagery toward pure abstraction, de Kooning maintained a commitment to the figurative tradition, developing a signature style that fused vivid color and aggressive paint handling with deconstructed images of the female form—a then-controversial body of works that has become known as his “Women” paintings. “Flesh was the reason oil paint was invented,” he famously said. Influenced by Arshile Gorky and Pablo Picasso, de Kooning was often thought to have blended Cubism, Expressionism, and Surrealism in his signature style, paving the way for generations of gestural figurative painters like Cecily Brown. Following his “Women” series, de Kooning pursued non-objective lyrical abstraction until his death in 1997.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$66m, Christie's, 2016
User
Solo show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 7 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 12 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
documenta
Shows Featuring Willem de Kooning
Articles Featuring Willem de Kooning
10 In-Demand Works on Artsy This Week
Nov 9th, 2020
10 In-Demand Works on Artsy This Week
Abstract Expressionist Titans Drive Sales at Sotheby’s Contemporary Auction
Nov 15th, 2019
Abstract Expressionist Titans Drive Sales at Sotheby’s Contemporary Auction
8 Lots That Could Ignite Bidding Frenzies at the Fall Auctions in New York
Nov 8th, 2019
8 Lots That Could Ignite Bidding Frenzies at the Fall Auctions in New York
Willem de Kooning on How to Be an Artist
Mar 4th, 2019
Willem de Kooning on How to Be an Artist
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