Willem de Kooning

Biography of Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning (born 1904 in Rotterdam, NL, died 1997 in Springs, New York, US) was a Dutch-American painter and is generally viewed as one of the most influential exponents of Abstract Expressionism and pioneers of Action Painting. With his main work Excavation (1950), de Kooning achieved a breakthrough in the United States. In the same year he produced the scandalous series Women which paved the way for an international career in the art scene. After the death of his friend and companion Jackson Pollock, de Kooning began to focus on urban and landscape sceneries, although he later found his way back to figural art. De Kooning is known for his large-scale paintings which perfectly combine the interplay of shapes and colors as well as the mixture between abstract and figurative sujets. Additionally to paintings, the Dutch artist has produced a variety of multiples in form of lithographs, drawings, etchings and prints. The serial production of artworks enabled de Kooning to gradually illustrate the process of transformation of figural painting towards total abstraction and to divide it into single sections whereby each section represents an autonomic artwork. Furthermore, the artist has created sculptures in limited editions such as the famous bronze sculpture Large Torso (1974) which was released in an edition of 7 and is now part of renowned institutional art collections.

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