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Willem de Kooning

Updated on April 18, 2014

Willem de Kooning the Artist


Artist Willem de Kooning was born April 24, 1904, in Rotterdam.


From house painter to "artist", Willem de Kooning paid his dues.

He used to be a house painter.. can you believe it? There is still hope for us all I would say.

He hung out in museums a lot. He hoped and did gain inspiration and an understanding of art in doing so.. Sooo.. hang out.. glean. He was born in Rotterdam, Holland/Netherlands.. a country free and open to the arts. He came to US in 1926 and found his way to New York.. In New York he did some commercial-art gigs until he found a job doing murasl and easel divisions of the WPA Federal Art Project. After that he painted full time. In the late on the 1930's that abstract was primarily influenced by Cubism an Surrealism and works of Picasso. That got him hooked. In 1938 he painted his first series of women and continued on with that theme throughout his career. His motivation for Abstract Expressionism? To that he said,

"Ambiguity prevails in an art and in an age where nothing is certain but self-consciousness."

The image is "Excavation"




While you enjoy learning about

Willem de Kooning


Three reasons to love de Kooning


Three reasons to love De Kooning?

Willem De Kooning had a fetish for modernism.. I LOVE that! I love it because it reminds me to take chances and reach beyond what I think I can do.

I love his freedom of strokes as he sometimes slathered his emotions with paint on canvas. It is a dance and he let the steps become fresh each time he heard his own song of hearts.

I love the abstract of it all... it is like good poetry.. one never truly understands the intent because it is not tangible.

The image is "Suburb in Havana"


de Kooning Quotes


“I don't paint to live, I live to paint.”

“Whatever an artist's personal feelings are, as soon as an artist fills a certain area on the canvas or circumscribes it, he becomes historical. He acts from or upon other artists.”

“The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.”

“If you pick up some paint with your brush and make somebody's nose with it, this is rather ridiculous when you think of it, theoretically or philosophically. It's really absurd to make an image, like a human image, with paint, today.”

“I make pictures and someone comes in and calls it art.”

“The attitude that nature is chaotic and that the artist puts order into it is a very absurd point of view, I think. All that we can hope for is to put some order into ourselves.”

“Style is a fraud. I always felt the Greeks were hiding behind their columns.”

“Once, after finishing a picture, I thought I would stop for awhile, take a trip, do things -- the next time I thought of this, I found five years had gone by.”

“Art never seems to make me peaceful or pure,”

“My interest in desperation lies only in that sometimes I find myself having become desperate. Very seldom do I start out that way. I can see of course that, in the abstract, thinking and all activity is rather desperate.”

“An artist is forced by others to paint out of his own free will.”

The image is:

Woman, 1949

Oil on canvas with enamel and charcoal

60 1/2 x 48 inches

Private collection


Robert Rauschenberg - Man at Work
Robert Rauschenberg - Man at Work


THIS IS A DVD. If your are like me you like to have a DVD on as you do art sometimes or need a fresh look at others creativity.. this one will help in that.


Abstract Art


Willem de Kooning



oil on canvas

Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro

Creativity is Both Fragile and Bold

by Kathy Otman-Magnusen

Creativity is both fragile and bold

it hides out in back alleys


or in an artists



dancing late at night

to colors not quite normal

testing emotions


trying to get over

a villains ugly lies.

An artist stands before what might be

and defies

ever part

of who they ever were or understood themselves

to be.

Anyone can create a rendering

isn't it so?

Given enough practice

patience locked in

on that secondary


embracing someone else's passion

their imagination?


another artists way of centering

one others outspoken heart.

No copying..

lest a painter or sculptor

lose their own searching


Something of consequence

will fill a page

form pleasure

between a creators fingers

and cause their passion

to be raised

if they

embrace that seduction.

When the soul is bare


ready for something new

inside their being

waiting for...


it is a exotic tale

leading to the alpha male in all of us.

Even gods of art take their time

to UNmask the sky.

Every creator know it takes a revelation to find a different scream.

Fullness of pleasure

with time to understand their own glorious flames.

The gods of art will always say

time to adjust life's microscopes

to reveal

the lust

of their own minds.

Considering all

I have felt my life.

And after the rain

stillness confined me

made me rise to lending my ear.

Listening intently

I heard a sound that made me weep

that sound was silence

beyond a victims


After the rain

I felt a breath

and ohh my god in that moment

I met my longing

those ideas that kept me awake

late at night.

After the rain

I knew grace

the gentleness of that morning

in an erotic vision

it brought tears to my eyes.

If I bestow on you that silent measure

lilacs lending fragrance

through the wind

and gentlemen offering calmness


The light

it simply refused to leave the presence of my palette

until it bled on me

a biopsy of my excuses

and then?

I felt restored.

I imagined myself to find little cottages

spun with a dollies hair

she may have whimpered

I forget

but I could not find another figure anywhere

and so I simply did not care

scream away.

I covered her with everything I ever felt

childhood undone

agony of growing up

beyond the dark.

I raise my glass

and all I have to say is...

Am I safe now?



ABOUT Kathy Ostman-Magnusen

I paint and sculpt female fantasy art and map fairy tale adventures. I dream of beautiful women on canvas and art of exotic women. I have illustrated for Hay House Inc.,"Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much" CARDS, taken from Anne Wilson Schaef's book. I also illustrated for Neil Davidson, who was considered for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing, and several other publications. My paintings are collected worldwide.

Giclee canvas art work, greeting cards and posters are available for sale on my website:

Sign up for my mailing list for FREE ART GIFTS suitable for children: Drawings of whimsical angel pictures, legends of mermaids and fairies in art. Tiny angels whisper fantasy art for shrink art, or coloring pages. Also a "Letter From the Tooth Fairy", ya just never know when you might need one!

I am Represented by:

Monkdogz Urban Art, Inc., 547 West 27th Street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10001

ORIGINAL ART may be purchased through Monkdogz -


THE IMAGE is of my sculpture "Bleeding Wings 5"


Music that goes well with art

We all need music in our lives...

Abstract Art


Untitled (Figures in landscape) 1974 Drawing, pastel, charcoal, pencil

Primary Insc: signed l.r. in charcoal "de Kooning"

So hey what do you think of De Kooning?

See results

Need More Music?

Those Beautiful Women in Competition

by Kathy Ostman-Magnusen

deKooning painted women.. and so do I. I also write about women... and me

Ahh, those beautiful women in competition

some of Art nouveau inspired goddesses

they arise to understand their mission.

In the early morning

their tears no longer slept

fore a captors



Taken hostage

a single mermaid

despite her heart

sins risen

transgressions displayed

for her history of perhaps impulsive


And in that hour...

the moon


Fairies came to tell me

sorrowful three

a plight with no solution.

Yet a bit of hope

despite it all

had somehow


Within their tiny hands

bountiful possessions

boxes upon boxes

of soon to be understood



Laced with a victim's charity

twas all tied together

with ribbons made of smoke

t'was my Lily

who tested that wind

and for our mermaid

her conscience


A melody was embraced

for Lily was acquainted with much


Bad days

constitutions decayed

twas Lily who did admit

many a promise made by her



Yet Lily shared a love

with a handsome savior

who took the moon

and forced to to save her.

A musician from a youthful jaunt

later arose

to pay for Lily's



In the evening

that musician spoke

French horn in hand

a rhythm inspired by faraway lands

his own memories of transgressions

he did invoke,

"Let a writer's memory

be sung here

mercy for transgressions

lead me toward a kinder rope.

This tale then


to those weeping angels

the captor who seethed against her

fatefully lies

within every single one

of us

to judge her or revoke.

And yet.. of course

a mermaids sins

must be known.

Under the surface of the water

a whale did sleep

waiting for

fairies and legends to meet.

No longer pretend

or stories that bend.

Sorting out dragons

tales a musician remembered

from a life, death


You see I've been a victim

a mermaids quest

twas this one captured

that oh tis true

she took my breath

yet did not wish me death.

This mermaid longed for the music

my French horn cold blow.

So mercy for her within my quest?

I must say yes.

Know her heart

this mermaids heart

still bleeds

within my own breast.

and finally

the water reaches ore me

and somehow because of love

I was set free.

Legends of beautiful mermaids

who capture sailors underwater

swallowed up

because they loved them from a distance.

Who could find fault with that?

Maybe just the masters damsel.

Beautiful women in competition

Art nouveau inspired goddesses

arose to understand their mission.

And then?

The moon ceased its weeping.


by Kathy Ostman-Magnusen

Copyright 2013


THE IMAGE is of my sculpture "Bleeding Wings 5"


Abstract Art


Women Singing II 1966 by Willem de Kooning


Leonard Cohen


Wonderful Leonard Cohen.. songs from the poet.


Willem de Kooning Paris Review, 1979

Willem de Kooning Paris Review, 1979
Willem de Kooning Paris Review, 1979


Let me know you were here OK?



Shout Out For De Kooning!

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    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 

      6 years ago

      i learn artists, painters, sculptors thru your lenses. thank you for introducing them to us. i know the others but some are new to me. squidangel blessings.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I always felt the passion of De Kooning who said, "I don't paint to live, I live to paint."

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 

      7 years ago

      Interesting lens. I always enjoy learning about the lives of artists.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 

      7 years ago

      what? rauschenberg erased de kooning's drawings? de kooning allowed it to happen.

    • QuinnWolf LM profile image

      QuinnWolf LM 

      7 years ago

      Great Lens. Willem de Kooning is my absolutel favorite artist and has been a huge influence on my own artwork.

    • CarolynPile profile image


      7 years ago

      Kathy, you have written so many great lenses on interesting topics! I'm a fan!

    • delia-delia profile image


      11 years ago

      another great lens!very informative info on De Kooning.


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