Willem de Kooning

1904 (Rotterdam) – 1997 (Springs, N.Y.)

De Kooning said he was lucky to meet Gorky, Davis and Graham soon after he arrived in the U.S. — mentors all; he also soon met his good friend Smith, and Kline, who became closest of all. Newman (also close), Pollock, Motherwell, Hofmann, Mitchell and Reinhardt were among his artist friends at The Club and the Cedar Bar, with Ashley, Koch, O’Hara, Schuyler and Creeley among the poets. His marriage to Elaine may have been troubled, but she did everything for his career. He painted in Castelli’s porch, posed (to type) as a drunk for Burckhardt, and gave Rauschenberg a drawing to erase.