Rotterdam 1904 - 1997 Long Island, New York
Willem de Kooning was one of the most sensitive and expressive painter personalities of the 20th century. He led the way for US-American post-war Modernism. As an acclaimed Action Painter, alongside Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline or Robert Motherwell, he stood for the avant-garde movement that struggled loose from the conventions of European painting. His large-format paintings are structured by fierce brushstrokes that create a new emphatic and monumental pictorial effect. The 'Abstract Landscapes' he made in 1957 and 1963 are symptomatic for this new pictorial form. Nevertheless, the Rotterdam-born painter never quite let himself be forced into the straitjacket of Abstract Expressionism and Action Painting, but exhibited a clear bias towards the European figurative painting tradition: Rubens, Vélazquez, Cézanne, Soutine may be considered congenial positions. The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, presented de Kooning's first retrospective exhibition in 1953 and 1956 he participated in the Venice Biennale and in 1959 as well as 1964 at the documenta in Kassel. Exhibitions at the major European and US-American museums followed.