Back to Collection

Elaine de Kooning

Artist Statement


Elaine De Kooning was born in New York in 1918 and she passed away in 1989. She is viewed as an Abstract Expressionist and a figurative realist. Additionally, Elaine is viewed as a renowned art critic, teacher and a feminist. Ironically, even with the feminist appellation, Elaine subverted her own career in favor of her husband’s career. She courted people who would be helpful to his career, going so far as having affairs with these influential individuals. The de Koonings were very influential in the art world of this era and she is one of the Ninth Street Women.

Elaine attended the American Artists School and The Leonardo Da Vinci Art School. She taught at the University of New Mexico and the University of California, Carnegie Mellon, Rhode Island School of Design and others.

The highlight of her life was to be commissioned to paint President John F. Kennedy for the Harry S. Truman Library. This work was an all-consuming passion for her and co-opted her life for months. It is still on display at the National Gallery of Art. Her work has received increasing critical acclaim. As a recent tribute to Elaine’s skills and talent, her portraits were recently on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. in a show entitled “Elaine DeKooning: Portraits”.