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Elaine de Kooning (Elaine de Kooning)

Elaine de Kooning

Artist and Wife of Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning (1904-1997 cremated). Born Elaine Marie Catherine Fried in Brooklyn, New York, she studied at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School and the American Artists School in New York City. She met Willem de Kooning in 1938, and they were married at City Hall, New York, in December 1943. Although married for more than forty-five years, De Kooning and her husband spent most of their marriage separated; however, she championed and promoted his work throughout the 1940s. De Kooning began working as an editorial associate for the magazine Art News in 1948 and wrote articles about some of the major figures in the art world, including the painters Josef Albers, Arshile Gorky, Hans Hofman, Franz Kline, and Mark Rothko. Working at the center of New York City’s cultural life, she became friends with the composer John Cage and the dance choreographer Merce Cunningham. She was an active member of the Eighth Street Club, a site where artists met, drank, and socialized. The club’s regulars included the painters Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner, Milton Resnick, Larry Rivers, Kline, and Rothko. Her most famous series of portraits, painted on commission from the White House, is of U.S. president John F. Kennedy. She traveled to West Palm Beach, Florida, to make painted sketches of Kennedy and spent much of 1963 working on a presidential portrait of him for the Truman Library. Following Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, she stopped painting for a year and devoted her time to teaching and sculpture.  Her paintings are in the collections of major museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.  In 1985 she was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1988. (bio by: Shock)  Family links:  Parents:  Charles Frank Fried (1886 – 1951)  Mary Ellen O’Brien Fried (1888 – 1964)  Spouse:  Willem de Kooning (1904 – 1997)*  Siblings:  Elaine de Kooning (1918 – 1989)  Marjorie I Fried Luyckx (1919 – 1998)*  Conrad Charles Fried (1920 – 2009)*  Peter John Fried (1923 – 1995)* *Calculated relationship


  • March, 12, 1918
  • USA


  • February, 02, 1989
  • USA


  • Green River Cemetery
  • USA

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