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Elaine de Kooning papers, circa 1959-1989

Elaine de Kooning papers, circa 1959-1989

De Kooning, Elaine, 1918-1989

Painter

Collection Information

Size: 1.1 linear feet

Summary: The scattered papers of Abstract Expressionist painter Elaine de Kooning are dated circa 1959-1989 and measure 1.1 linear feet. Found within the papers are letters, writings, a sketch of John F. Kennedy, notes, a sound recording, a few documents regarding Willem de Kooning, transcripts of interviews of de Kooning, transcripts of recorded conversations between de Kooning and others, and transcripts of lectures by de Kooning and others. There are a few photographs of de Kooning and of de Kooning with others, including John F. Kennedy, artist James Bohary, and Ad Reinhardt, and of artwork. Also found are printed materials and two scrapbooks containing a variety of documents about de Kooning's protest against the death penalty and efforts to save the life of convicted criminal Caryl Chessman.

Biographical/Historical Note

Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989) was an Abstract Expressionist painter, teacher and writer who lived and worked in New York City and East Hampton, New York. De Kooning was married to artist Willem de Kooning (1904-1997).

Provenance

The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2003 by Denise Lassaw, de Kooning's goddaughter and her mother Ernestine Lassaw, and in 2013-2015 by Denise Lassaw. Interview transcripts and lectures donated 2015 by Doris Aach, a friend who transcribed them for de Kooning.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Elaine de Kooning papers, circa 1959-1989, in the Archives of American Art
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Finding aid prepared by Harriet E. Shapiro and Erin Kinhart
Scope and Contents note
The scattered papers of Abstract Expressionist painter Elaine de Kooning are dated circa 1959-1989 and measure 1.1 linear feet. Found within the papers are letters, writings, a sketch of John F. Kennedy, notes, a sound recording, a few documents regarding Willem de Kooning, transcripts of interviews of de Kooning, transcripts of recorded conversations between de Kooning and others, and transcripts of lectures by de Kooning and others. There are a few photographs of de Kooning and of de Kooning with others, including John F. Kennedy, artist James Bohary, and Ad Reinhardt, and of artwork. Also found are printed materials and two scrapbooks containing a variety of documents about de Kooning's protest against the death penalty and efforts to save the life of convicted criminal Caryl Chessman.
Biographical/Historical note
Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989) was an Abstract Expressionist painter, teacher and writer who lived and worked in New York City and East Hampton, N.Y.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, de Kooning studied briefly at Hunter College before enrolling at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York City. She had her first solo exhibition in 1952 at the Stable Gallery in New York and has paintings in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and other institutions. She taught at Yale University, Carnegie Mellon Institute, University of Pennsylvania and other colleges and art schools. Elaine de Kooning died of lung cancer in 1989 at Southampton Hospital in Southampton, New York. Willem de Kooning, her husband of 48 years, survived her.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 5 series:
Series 1: Personal Papers, circa 1960s-1989 (Boxes 1, 3; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 2: Interviews, Conversations, and Lectures, 1978-1988 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Photographs, circa 1960s (4 folders; Box 2)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1961-1982 (5 folders; Boxes 2-3)
Series 5: Scrapbooks, circa 1959-1962 (Boxes 2-3: 0.3 linear ft.)
Provenance
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2003 by Denise Lassaw, de Kooning's goddaughter and her mother Ernestine Lassaw, and in 2013-2015 by Denise Lassaw. Interview transcripts and lectures donated 2015 by Doris Aach, a friend who transcribed them for de Kooning.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Harriet E. Shapiro in 2013. Additional papers were processed in 2015 by Erin Kinhart.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.

How to Cite This Collection

Elaine de Kooning papers, circa 1959-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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