biography of Elaine Marie DE KOONING (1918-1989)

Birth place: NYC

Addresses: NYC; Freeport, NY

Profession: Painter, writer

Studied: Am. Artists School, NYC, c.1939; Leonardo da Vinci School, c.1939;, NYC; privately with Willem de Kooning & Arshile Gorky; Moore College Art, Phila., D.F.A.; Western College Women, D.F.A.

Exhibited: New Talent," Kootz Gal., NYC, 1950; Stable Gal., NYC, 1952 (1st solo); Fourth Int. Exhib., Tokyo, Japan, 1954; "Sixty American Painters," Walker AC, 1960; Carnegie Int., 1960; WMAA, 1961-62; "Recent Paintings U.S.A.: The Figure," MoMA, 1963; PAFA, 1964; Graham Gallery, NYC, 1970s; "Portraits by Elaine De Kooning," Montclair (NJ) Art Mus., 1973; "Hoops and Homers," Spectrum Gal., NYC, 1981. Awards: Hallmark Award."

Member: Artists Equity.

Work: MoMA; NY Univ.; Elmira College, NY; Greenville (SC) Mus.; Drew Univ., Madison, NJ. Commissions: portrait of Joseph Hirshhorn, commissioned by Mr. Hirshhorn, 1962; portraits of John F. Kennedy, 1962-63, now at John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, and Truman Library, Independence, MO; portrait of Allen Ginsberg, Channel 13, NET TV, 1971.

Comments: A second-generation New York Abstract Expressionist, she was also an acclaimed portrait painter and art critic. Born Elaine Fried, she married Willem de Kooning in 1943 and was an active part of the group of Abstract Expressionists who visited the Cedar Bar and the Artists' Club in New York City. De Kooning was also an important art critic, writing some of the first articles for Art News on such artists Hans Hofmann, Josef Albers, Arshile Gorky, and David Smith. By the 1950s, she had became part of a circle of writers that included poet Frank O'Hara and dance critic Edwin Denby. Beginning in the 1960s, she also gained attention for her vigorously painted portraits, receiving her most famous commission in 1962, from President John F. Kennedy. Painted at Kennedy's winter White House in Palm Beach, the resulting studies of the President reached a large audience when they were published in Life and Art News. Teaching: painting professor, Yale Univ. Grad. School, 1967-68; Mellon chmn. painting, Carnegie-Mellon Univ., 1969-70; painting professor, Univ. Penn. Grad. School, 1971-.

Sources: WW73; Lawrence Campbell, Elaine de Kooning Paints a Picture," Art News (Dec. 1960): 42; "In Quest of a Famous Likeness," Life (May 1964); Elaine de Kooning, "Painting a Portrait of the President," Art News (summer 1964); Rubinstein, American Women Artists, 284-86; Eleanor Munroe, Originals: American Women Artists (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979; Falk, Exh. Record Series. "

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