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Willem de Kooning, Woman, I

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Willem de Kooning
(American, born the Netherlands. 1904-1997)
Woman, I
1950-52

De Kooning famously said, “Flesh is the reason oil paint was invented,” and although he created many abstract paintings in the late 1940s, he continually returned to the figure, specifically the motif of the woman. He wrestled with this painting for months, making numerous preliminary studies then repainted the canvas repeatedly and at times completely abandoning it. He may have been anticipating the skepticism that would greet his revival of figure painting at a time when abstraction was dominating the burgeoning New York art scene.

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Willem de Kooning

During the late 1940s, Jackson Pollock’s radical approach to painting revolutionized what it meant to create art.

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