Willem de KooningAmerican, born Netherlands (Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1904 - 1997, East Hampton, New York)
De Kooning's paintings of women from the early 1950s came on the heels of a highly successful series of black-and-white abstractions. His figural subject matter was at first criticized as a step back because it went against the current trend toward abstract compositions. In the years since, however, these works have been lauded as some of his best, and they remain his most well known.
This is one of De Kooning's earliest paintings of the subject, which he would revisit many times over the next five years. In later pieces the fleshy, pink, figurative style yields to an aggressive patchwork of bright yellows, reds, and greens as well as an increasing sense of violence.