A Fresh Contemporary Look for AbEx Legend Elaine de Kooning

Posted on July 19, 2018 by Alison Pierz

Elaine de Kooning (born Elaine Freid, 1918) is a legend of the Post War American Abstract Expressionist movement and we were honored to frame this small painting of her's. de Kooning portrayed bulls and bullfighting themes over an extended period of time after a trip to Mexico in 1958. The painting we worked with is signed and dated '74. The collectors wanted to re-frame and freshen the oil painting on paper with a clean contemporary frame and mat. We chose a lovely stained poplar molding to compliment the artist's palette and protected the work behind museum glass and the clients were thrilled with the result. 

Elaine de Kooning bullfight American Abstract Expressionist Woman artist
Elaine de Kooning's bullfight painting in its new frame at our studio

Elaine de Kooning was a New York native who was encouraged in her creative endeavors early in life. She began her formal art training at Hunter College, then transferred to the Leonardo da Vinci Art School, New York. In the 1930s she met her future husband, the artist Willem de Kooning while studying drawing with him. Elaine worked both figuratively and abstractly. Her early works were generally figurative showing influences from Cubism. Beginning in the 1940s she became a practitioner of Abstract Expressionism and championed the movement as a writer and associate editor for Art News

Elaine de Kooing work on paper bullfight
Another bullfight work on paper from the same period (image courtesy of Mark Borghi Fine Art)

Elaine saw the benefits of promoting her husband's work and name but was a strong artist in her own right. She was a founding member of the Greenwich Village artist's organization called The Club and was included in the 1961 Whitney Annual (now Biennial). Although an advocate of AbEx, she developed a reputation for painting portraits of individuals and was commissioned to paint President John F. Kennedy's portrait. Following Kennedy's assassination, she ceased painting for an entire year. de Kooning's work was frequently exhibited in gallery's and museums throughout her lifetime and she spent a summer at the important, experimental Black Mountain College. She is represented in numerous major collections including the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim which each have a bullfight / Mexico related work. 

Elaine de Kooning portrait by Willem de Kooning
A portrait of Elaine de Kooning by Willem de Kooning (image courtesy of Hamptons Art Hub)

Providing custom framing offers us the opportunity to work with many exceptional works of art. Framing this piece from such an important American female artist was a real honor and we look forward to working with even more art of this caliber in the future.


Posted in Abstract Expressionism, Custom Framing, Elaine de Kooning