DETAIL : Jackson POLLOCK United States of America 1912 � 1956 Blue poles: Number 11, 1952 1952 enamel and aluminium paint with glass on canvas
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Willem DE KOONING | Woman V
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The Netherlands 1904 – United States of America 1997
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Woman V 1952-53
oil and charcoal on canvas
154.5 (h) x 114.5 (w) cm
framed 157.5 (h) x 116.2 (w) cm
signed l.l., oil, "de Kooning", not dated
Purchased 1974
NGA 1974.385
© Willem de Kooning. Licensed by ARS & VISCOPY, Australia
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Willem de Kooning was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on 24 April 1904. In 1916 he was apprenticed to a commercial art and decorating firm and also began attending night classes at the Rotterdam Academy of fine and Applied Arts, eventually graduating in 1925. In 1926 he arrived in the United States as an illegal immigrant and by 1927 had settled in New York. There he supported himself through a variety of jobs while meeting other artists such as John Graham, Stuart Davis and Arshile Gorky. In 1935 he was employed on the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration but was obliged to leave when it was discovered that he was not an American citizen. He first showed his work at the group exhibition 'New Horizons in America', at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1936. In 1938 he met his future wife, Elaine Fried, and began his early paintings of women. He continued to support himself through a variety of commercial art jobs and occasional commissions. He designed the costumes and sets for Nini Theilade's ballet Les Nuages (The Clouds), presented by Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo at the Metropolitan Opera in 1940, and later designed a backdrop for the ballet Labyrinth, performed by Marie Marchowsky and Company at the New York Times Hall in 1946. At the same time he participated in a number of important group exhibitions such as 'American and French Paintings', chosen by John Graham for McMillan Gallery, New York, in 1942, and the touring exhibition 'Abstract and Surrealist Art in the United States', organised by Sidney Janis in 1944. In 1948 he had his first solo exhibition at the Egan Gallery, New York. He was represented at the Venice Biennale in 1950 and again in 1954. De Kooning began work on Woman I in 1951 and exhibited the series of Woman paintings at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, in 1953. In 1958 he participated in the European travelling exhibition 'The New American Painting', organised by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He became an American citizen in 1962. In 1963 de Kooning moved his studio to Springs, Long Island, and began a new series of paintings of women. A retrospective of his work was held at Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1965, and a second, which toured Amsterdam, London, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, was organised by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1968. In 1969 de Kooning began making his first sculptures, and in1970 he began a series of lithographs at the Hollander Workshop, New York. A major retrospective was organised in 1983 by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in co-operation with the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which then travelled to Berlin and Paris. De Kooning lives and works in Springs, Long Island.

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