WILLEM DE KOONING (1904-1997)
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands. de Kooning is included among the artists of the New York School, a loosely knit group inspired by the avant-garde. The hallmark of de Kooning's style was an emphasis on complex figure ground ambiguity. Background figures would overlap other figures causing them to appear in the foreground, which in turn might be overlapped by dripping lines of paint, thus positioning the area into the background. De Kooning had painted women regularly in the early 1940s and again from 1947 to 1949. The biomorphic shapes of his early abstractions were derived from objects found in the studio. However, in the 1950's de Kooning began to explore the subject of women exclusively, after meeting his future wife Elaine. These works reveal inspiration from Pablo Picasso and are important within its historical context surrounding the American Feminist Movement.