Willem De Kooning
(Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1904 – 1997, East Hampton, New York )
Willem De Kooning was born in the Netherlands, but active primarily in the United States. He was a leading figure of Abstract Expressionism. His style strongly influenced art after World War II. De Kooning attended the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques and was drawn to Cubism. He moved to the United States in 1926 and worked as a house painter. He was influenced by many avant-garde artists at this time and began to experiment with different painting techniques and processes. He became close friends with Arshile Gorky, whose death in 1948 deeply affected him. He turned to dark and violent paintings, which evolved into an obsession with the human figure. In 1952, de Kooning created the Women series, paintings of the female body in abstract and loosely rendered form.