The East End has long cultivated incredible artistry by world-class painters, sculptors and other artists. Of all the great masters, few are as celebrated as abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, who created countless works of “action painting” from his studio in East Hampton.
Originally from the Netherlands, he stowed away on a British freighter that brought him to the United Stated in 1926, where he eventually settled in Manhattan. He married fellow artist Elaine Fried in 1943 and moved to Springs in the ’50s. During this time, he created his famous Woman series, which became more abstract as the years went by, but never completely abandoned elements of the human figure. His “Interchange” painting was the most expensive painting ever sold, at $300 million, until a Leonardo da Vinci sold for $450.3 million in 2017.
If you’re an artist in need of a little Monday motivation this week, take a look at these five thought-provoking Willem de Kooning quotes, then use your newfound inspiration to create something wonderful.
“Art should not have to be a certain way. It is no use worrying about being related to something it is impossible not to be related to.”
“The past does not influence me; I influence it.”
“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”
“I have to change to stay the same.”
“I feel sometimes an American artist must feel like a baseball player or something—a member of a team writing American history.”
See more works by de Kooning and other artists in Guild Hall’s Permanent Collection, pc.guildhall.org/artpress_artist/willem-de-kooning.