Willem de Kooning 1904 - 1997 American, born Netherlands Abstract Expressionism/ New York School Painters
Willem de Kooning first visited the East End of Long Island in 1948 when he spent a weekend at the Springs home of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. Later the same year, de Kooning had his first solo gallery show which featured mostly black and white abstractions. That exhibition put him at the forefront of a new generation of painters interested in removing narrative content and figuration from their work. When de Kooning reintroduced the human figure with his iconic images of women, first shown at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1953, some commentators, among them critic Clement Greenberg, felt it was a step backward. In response de Kooning’s stated, "Flesh is the reason oil paint was invented." From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, de Kooning entered a new phase of nearly pure abstractions more related to landscape than to the human figure. Living and painting on Long Island throughout the 1980s, de Kooning created large abstract works, such as Untitled XXXVIII (1983), in bright tones with simpler, more restrained gestures than those that had characterized his earlier style.