A leading artist of the abstract expressionist movement, Willem de Kooning was born April 24, 1904 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He moved to the United States in 1926, settling in New York City.
He had studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques (now named the Willem de Kooning Academie), and began working as a commercial artist in New York while associating with other artists.
During the Great Depression, de Kooning joined the Artists Union and worked for the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration.
Accepting commissions and teaching art students, he achieved wider recognition as an important artist with his first solo show in 1948.
Throughout his long career, de Kooning was an unpredictable innovator, incorporating figures with abstractions, painting in black and white, moving from painting to drawing to sculpture, always breaking new ground and following his own path.
Willem de Kooning is recognized on the 10-stamp Abstract Expressionists set with a 44¢ stamp (Scott 4444b) that shows his 1948 painting Asheville, an oil and enamel work on cardboard from the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.