In 1926, Willem de Kooning, a penniless, 22-year-old commercial artist from the Netherlands, stowed away on a freighter bound for America. He had no papers and spoke no English. After his ship docked in Newport News, Virginia, he made his way north with some Dutch friends toward New York City…
Of the painters who emerged in New York during the late 1940s and early ’50s—Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, among them— de Kooning, who died in 1997, remains the most difficult to capture: He is too vital, restless, jazzy, rude and unpredictable to fit into any one particular cup. He crossed many of art’s boundaries, spilling between abstraction and figuration over a period of 50 years—expressing a wide variety of moods—with no concern for the conventions of either conservative or radical taste.
Read more about de Kooning and his incredible career HERE
Photo by Tony Vaccaro, 1953