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Elaine De Kooning
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    (March 12, 1918-February 1, 1989)
    Born in Brooklyn, New York
    Birth name was Elaine Fried
    Married Willem de Kooning
    Editorial assistant for 'Art News' magazine
    Abstract expressionist painter and sculptor
    Painted portraits of John F. Kennedy, Allen Ginsburg, Ornette Coleman, John O'Hara, Merce Cunningham, Pele, and her husband
    Other notable works include 'Black Mountain Abstractions' (1948), 'Baseball Players' (1955), and 'Bacchus' (1983)
    She was an alcoholic.
    Willem destroyed many of her early drawings.
    She slept with men who could help Willem's career, like art critic Harold Rosenberg and gallery owner Charles Egan.
    She signed her early paintings with just her initials to hide that they had been created by a female artist.
    After jointly showing her and Willem's works at an exhibition called 'Artists: Man and Wife' (1951), she said, 'Later I came to think it was a bit of a put-down of the women. There was something about the show that sort of attached women -- wives -- to the 'real' artists.'
    Her mother was committed to a psychiatric hospital for a year after a neighbor reported her neglect of her children.'
    while attending art classes, she worked as an artists' model.
    At 'Art News,' she was one of the first critics to write significant reviews of Arshille Gorky and Mark Rothko.
    She created a series of paintings inspired by the paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux, France, and Altamira, Spain.
    Willem was never informed of her death because of his Alzheimer's disease.
    Asked once what it was like to work in Willem's shadow, she replied, 'I don't work in his shadow. I work in his light.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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