Willem de Kooning
Dimension: 35×20 cm
Painting Technique: Oil painting
Painting style: Abstract expressionism
Willem de Kooning, one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, died on March 19, 1997 in East Hampton, New York, where he had lived since 1963. De Kooning described art and the process of art with the following quote: “Art never seems to make me peaceful or pure. I always seem to be wrapped up in the melodrama of vulgarity”. He had lived with Alzheimer’s Disease during most of the past ten years of his life but finally reached the spirit of peace. At the time of his death he was 93.
Willem De Kooning was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on April 24, 1904.
His parents were Leendert De Kooning and Cornelia Nobel. His parents divorced in 1909 when Willem was only five years old, and his mother and subsequent stepfather raised him.
During the 1980’s De Kooning was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. On March 19, 1997 one of the greatest artists of his time, and of the twentieth century, died in East Hampton, New York. He left behind an enormous oeuvre of his work. The largest public collection of his work can be viewed at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC.
The quality of De Kooning’s work can probably best be measured by some of the auction prices of his work while he was still alive. In 1987, at one of Sotheby’s auctions, one of De Kooning’s paintings, “Pink Lady”, painted in 1944 sold for $3.6 million. Two years later another one of his paintings, “Interchange”, painted in 1955 sold for $20.6 million. Although many artists do not like to judge art or an artist by the prices his or her art work commands, it certainly is a measure of how society as a whole measures the value of the work produced.