Elaine de Kooning, an American art critic, portraitist, teacher, and painter in the post-World War II era, was born on this day! Elaine de Kooning was a prominent American painter known for her portraits, who was the first American artist in the 1950s to take a role of the artist critic.

Here are some interesting facts that you might not know about this world famous artist.

Fact 1: At a young age, Elaine de Kooning’s mother taught her how to draw, and often took her to museums.

Fact 2: At school, she earned her living by working as an art school model.

Fact 3: By the end of the 1940s, she started to write art criticism. She served as an editorial associate at Art News under the guidance of Thomas Hess. There she wrote essays on Hans Hofmann, Arshile Gorky, and Franz Kline, and contributed to the expansion of the abstract expressionism, making it accessible to a broader audience.

Fact 4: Because of the fact that women were often marginalized in the Abstract Expressionist movement, Elaine de Kooning decided to sign her artworks with her initials rather than her full name.

Fact 5: She married Willem de Kooning, who was her teacher in drawing and painting and whom she had admired even before they met, in 1943.

Fact 6: Elaine and Willem de Kooning had an open marriage. Elaine usually had affairs with men who helped her husband’s career.

Fact 7: They both struggled with alcoholism. It was the reason for their separation in 1956, however, they never divorced. After they separated, Elaine de Kooning stayed in New York, making ends meet, and Willem went to Long Island and struggling with his depression. Ultimately they reunited in 1976.

Currently, you have a chance to find Elaine de Kooning’s artworks at several art galleries. What exhibitions can you visit?

Question Everything! The Women of Black Mountain College at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (until April 25). This exhibition celebrates the work and impact of the women associated with Black Mountain College, featuring borrowed works alongside pieces from the BMCM+AC collection by a wide-ranging group of artists.

In The Making: The Mount Holyoke College Printmaking Workshop at Art Museum, Mount Holyoke College (until June 21). It celebrates the work of artists and printers who participated in the College’s Printmaking Workshop between 1984 and 2012.

Feminizing Permanence at Hearst Art Gallery, Saint Mary’s College (until December 13). It features forty historical and contemporary artworks by forty women artists from the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Women Take The Floor at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (until May 3). Marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020, this reinstallation—or “takeover”—of the entire third floor of the MFA’s Art of the Americas Wing highlights approximately 250 works made by women artists over the last century.

If you want to learn more about the artist, please, visit prabook.com.

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