de Kooning was heavily influenced by the Cubism
and Surrealism movements. His work began to
take form in 1938 with the completion of his
first series of Women, which would become a
major recurrent theme. During the 1940s, he
participated in group shows with other artists
who would form the New York School and become
known as Abstract Expressionists.
De Kooning's first solo exhibition of black-and-white
abstractions was held in 1948, and by 1950 he
had become a key figure of abstract expressionism.
He is best known for a provocative series of
paintings of women, whose aggressive forms are
rendered with slashing strokes and dripping
paint. Simultaneously ferocious and comical,
the meaning of these images is still disputed.