Willem de Kooning American, born The Netherlands

Not on view

In the 1940s, de Kooning, with his friend the artist Arshile Gorky, frequented the Metropolitan Museum to study portraits by nineteenth-century French artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. This seated figure, which belongs to de Kooning’s first series of "women" paintings, demonstrates his interest in the human form. Awkwardly posed, the woman’s arms, legs, and breasts exist as abstract shapes in a flattened space. Like other Abstract Expressionists, de Kooning was interested in portraying nature as simultaneously creative and destructive. Although the figure is recognizable as a woman, de Kooning’s arrangement of form, line, and color gives the effect of a body coming together and falling apart.

Woman, Willem de Kooning (American (born The Netherlands), Rotterdam 1904–1997 East Hampton, New York), Oil and charcoal on canvas

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