Elaine de Kooning

American (1920–1989)

About the artist:

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Elaine de Kooning became a noted Abstract Expressionist painter who also pursued portrait painting in a semi-realist style. However, like so many women artists of that era who married artists, her career was sublimated to that of her famous husband, Willem de Kooning. They became the leaders of the New York School social set in the 1940s, 50s and 60. In 1943, she married de Kooning, a Dutch immigrant artist, and together and apart they worked relentlessly on their painting and she on the promotion of her husband's talents. During their early years, they were exceedingly poor, and in the last decade of their life together had millions of dollars because of the money earned from his paintings. In retrospect, she is credited as the significant influence on making Willem de Kooning the leading name in New York art circles because of her well-placed flirtations, skillful writing of reviews in art magazines, and ability to speak forcefully in private and public lectures. Never divorced, they had strong emotional ties, and yet each had numerous sexual relationships with other person. They separated in the 1960s but reconciled in the 1970s when she overcame her dependance on alcohol and successfully encouraged her husband's sobriety. Her art training began after high school when she attended the American Artists School and the Leonardo da Vinci School where she studied with Conrad Marca-Relli, a teacher who encouraged her to work her own way and to work hard. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she did not completely abandon realism, and much of her career was devoted to portraiture for which she was known in the 1950s and 60s. One of her most famous commissions was for President John F. Kennedy, which was in process at the time of the assassination. When he died, she was so saddened that she put down her brushes for a year. Her personal life was tumultuous, largely due to her alcoholism, and the wild, heady times of riding the crest of Abstract Expressionism. She was a chain smoker which caused her death on February 1, 1989 of lung cancer in New York.

Elaine de Kooning

American (1920–1989)

(1 works)

About the artist:

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Elaine de Kooning became a noted Abstract Expressionist painter who also pursued portrait painting in a semi-realist style. However, like so many women artists of that era who married artists, her career was

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