Elaine de Kooning  (American, 1919-1989) 

Elaine de Kooning (American, March 12, 1918–February 1, 1989) was a painter, teacher, and editor. She is known for her work both as an Abstract Expressionist and Figurative Expressionist painter. De Kooning was born in Brooklyn, NY, as the oldest of four children. At a young age, de Kooning's mother taught her how to draw, and frequently took her to museums. De Kooning attended Erasmus Hall High School, and upon graduation briefly attended Hunter College in New York City. In 1937, she studied at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in Hoboken, NJ, and in 1938, she went back to New York City to attend the American Artists School.

In her mid-20s, de Kooning married fellow artist Willem de Kooning (Dutch/American, April 24, 1904–March 19, 1997). During her marriage, de Kooning continued painting; however, much of her time was devoted to ensuring the success of her husband. In the summer of 1948, de Kooning and her husband left New York for North Carolina so that he could teach at Black Mountain College. At the end of the summer, her husband left North Carolina, and de Kooning stayed behind. During that period at Black Mountain, she created a series of paintings entitled Black Mountain Abstractions. The following year, de Kooning and her husband were part of an exhibition entitled Artists: Man and Wife at the Sidney Janis Gallery, which featured several artist couples. She had her first solo exhibit at the Stable Gallery in 1954. Shortly after, de Kooning and her husband separated until 1975.

De Kooning was highly noted for her ability as a portraitist, even by the White House, who commissioned a portrait of President John F. Kennedy. This resulted in her John F. Kennedy series of paintings, and her most popular Portrait of JFK. In 1983, she went to Northern Spain and Southern France to visit pre-historic caves. De Kooning always had a fascination with the animal form and was interested in seeing what inspiration she could find in the caves. After her excursions, she made several sketches. Upon returning to the United States, de Kooning transferred these sketches into large paintings such as Cave #49, Morning Horses and Cave #54, Sand Wall. De Kooning continued to travel extensively and gain international inspiration. During her artistic career, she also worked as an editorial associate and art critic of Art News magazine, and taught at many universities, including the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, the University of California, Davis, Yale University, the Pratt Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Wagner College, and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In the 1980s, de Kooning was diagnosed with lung cancer. Following a surgery to remove one of her lungs, her health began to deteriorate until she succumbed to the disease in 1989.

Find Elaine de Kooning artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
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Elaine de Kooning, Bacchus #62


Elaine de Kooning
Bacchus #62

Hollis Taggart Galleries
Elaine de Kooning, After Lascaux


Elaine de Kooning
After Lascaux

David Richard Gallery
Elaine de Kooning, Monte porgio: Approaching Storm


Elaine de Kooning
Monte porgio: Approaching Storm

Julian Weissman Fine Art, LLC
Elaine de Kooning, Flowers in a Vase


Elaine de Kooning
Flowers in a Vase

Green River Gallery
Elaine de Kooning, Man in a Whirl


Elaine de Kooning
Man in a Whirl
circa 1957

Washburn Gallery
Elaine de Kooning, Falling Man


Elaine de Kooning
Falling Man

Art Resource Group
Elaine de Kooning, Denkoroku


Elaine de Kooning

ACA Galleries, est. 1932
Elaine de Kooning, Untitled


Elaine de Kooning

Elaine de Kooning, Arena No. 2


Elaine de Kooning
Arena No. 2

Levis Fine Art
Past auction results (190)  View All
Elaine de Kooning, Untitled Bull


Elaine de Kooning
Untitled Bull
oil on masonite


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Elaine de Kooning, Abstract


Elaine de Kooning
gouache on paper


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Elaine de Kooning, Bull


Elaine de Kooning
Bull, 1984


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1918   Born Elaine Marie Fried on March 12, 1918 in New York, Ny
1936   Enrolls at Hunter College, drops out following year.
1937   Begins to attend classes at Leonardo da Vinci Art School, New York, NY
1938   Studies at American Artists School, 1938
1943   Marries Willem de Kooning
1956   Separated from Willem de Kooning, but they never divorced.
1960   Visiting professor, Pennsylvania State University, University Park.
1972   Awarded Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia.
1974   Begins two-year professorship at Parsons School of Design, New York.
1975   Artist in residence, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.
1976   Holds Mellon Chair at Cooper Union, New York
1982   Holds Milton and Sally Avery Chair, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
1984   Awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York.
1985   Awarded Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, The Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore.
1988   Awarded Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Long Island University, Southampton.
1989   Died in Southampton, NY
2008   New York Cool: Paintings and Sculptures from the NYU Art Collection, Grey Art Gallery, NYU, New York, NY
2007   Pathways and Parallls: Roads to Abstract Expressionism, Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York, NY
A Culture in the Making, Hacket Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006   Aspects of Humanity, CCAS, Center for Contemporary Art Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Black Mountain College, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Black Mountain College: Its Time and Place, Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC
Starting at Zero: Black Mountain College, 1933-1957, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
2004   JFK and Art, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
American Expressionism: Art and Social Change, 1920s - 1950s, Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston, IL
2003   Elaine De Kooning, Hackett Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1999   Elaine de Kooning Portraits, Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York, NY
1997   Art & Friendship: Selections from the Roland F. Pease Collection, Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, NY
1996   Elaine de Kooning Paintings 1955 - 1965, Joan T. Washburn Gallery, New York, NY
1996   Major Paintings, Sculpture & Drawings, Joan T. Washburn Gallery, New York, NY
1994   Washburn Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1988   Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1983   Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1982   Phoenix II, Washington, D.C. (solo)
1981   Spectrum Fine Art Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1976   Graham Gallery, New York,NY (solo)
1974   Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Focus, Philadelphia Museum of Art
American Self-Portraits 1670-1973, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1973   Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey, NJ (solo)
1966   Drew University, New Jersey, NJ (solo)
1964   Graham Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1963   Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
1961   Graham Gallery, New York (solo)
De Aenille Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1960   Holland-Goldowsky Gallery, Chicago (solo)
Howard Wise Gallery, Cleveland (solo)
Tanager Gallery, New York (solo)
Graham Gallery, New York (solo)
Hallmark Art Award Exhibition
1959   Gump's Gallery, New Mexico (solo)
Dord Fitz Gallery, Amarillo, New Mexico (solo)
Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, Connecticut
1958   Younger American Painters, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1957   University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (solo)
TTibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
The New York School: The Second Generation, Jewish Museum, New York
1953 - 1957   The "9th St." Show, Stable Gallery New York, NY
1956   Stable Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Abstract Expressionism 1900-1955, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (traveling exh.)
Young American Painters, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (traveling exh.)
1954   Stable Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
International Biennial Exhibition of Painting, Tokyo
1952   Stable Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1951   The "9th St." Show, Stable Gallery, New York, NY
1950   New Talent, Kootz Gallery, New York, NY