Willem de Kooning, American (born Netherlands), 1904 - 1997
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This composition is an early work from Willem de Kooning's long sequence of paintings of women that culminated in one of the most aggressive revisions of the female figure in the history of art. Began as a study for a commissioned portrait that the artist never completed, the portrait served as a vehicle for de Kooning to explore his ongoing interest in amalgamating figurative subjects with the pictorial concerns of abstraction. While the willful anatomical distortions reflect the influence of Pablo Picasso, the seated figure also recalls the sensuous women painted by the nineteenth-century French artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, with their tightly fitted bodices and delicate features.