American painter and sculptor born in Rotterdam, In 1916, at the age of 12, de Kooning was apprenticed to a firm of commercial artists and decorators and about the same time, he enrolled in night classes at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques, where he studied for eight years. In 1926 de Kooning entered the United States In 1927 he moved to a studio in Manhattan and came under the influence of the artist and art critic John D, Graham and the painter Arshile Gorky who became one of his closest friends. From about 1928 de Kooning began to paint still life and figure compositions reflecting School of Paris and Mexican influences. By the early 1930s he was exploring abstraction, using biomorphic shapes and simple geometric compositions, an opposition of disparate formal elements that prevails in his work throughout his career. From 1935 untill 1937 de Kooning began to work on the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Federal Art Project. This period of about two years provided the artist, who had been supporting himself during the early Depression by commercial jobs, with his first opportunity to devote full time to creative work. During the 1940s and thereafter he became increasingly identified with the Abstract Expressionist movement and was recognized as one of its leaders in the mid-1950s. He had his first one-man show, which consisted of his black-and-white enamel compositions, at the Charles Egan Gallery in New York in 1948 and taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1948 and at the Yale School of Art in 1950/51. De Kooning had painted women regularly in the early 1940s and again from 1947 to 1949. The biomorphic shapes of his early abstractions can be interpreted as female symbols. But it was not until 1950 that he began to explore the subject of women exclusively. These works were shown at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1953 and caused a sensation, chiefly because they were figurative when most of his fellow Abstract Expressionists were painting abstractly and because of their blatant technique and imagery. In 1963, he moved permanently to East Hampton, Long Island. From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, De Kooning entered a new phase of nearly pure abstractions more related to landscape than to the human figure. During his late years, he turned more and more to the production of clay sculpture. De Kooning was victim of a long term illness.