Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) was a painter and sculptor born in the Netherlands, where he studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques for eight years. In the 1920s, he emigrated to America, where he made a living as a commercial artist, though within a year of joining the WPA Federal Art Project in 1935, dedicated himself to painting. His style typically involves abstract compositions imbued with elements of figuration. In the late 1940s, he employed a palette of black and white and treated erotic themes. In the 1950s, he painted his “Women” series, and subsequently found inspiration in landscape. Toward the end of his career, he increased his output of sculpture. He was a leading Abstract Expressionist, and often associated with friends Arshile Gorky and John Graham.