A Finding Aid to the Elaine de Kooning papers, circa 1959-1989, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.dekoelas
Creators:
De Kooning, Elaine
Dates:
circa 1959-2013
Languages:
English
The collection is in English.
Physical Description:
1.1 Linear feet
0.003 Gigabytes
Repository:
The scattered papers of Abstract Expressionist painter Elaine de Kooning are dated circa 1959-2013 and measure 1.1 linear feet and 0.003 GB. 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. Most of the transcripts and few photographs are digitized. 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.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The scattered papers of Abstract Expressionist painter Elaine de Kooning are dated circa 1959-2013 and measure 1.1 linear feet and 0.003 GB. 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. Most of the transcripts and few photographs are digitized. 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.

Arrangement
Arrangement
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, ER01; 0.3 linear feet, 0.001 GB)
  • Series 3: Photographs, circa 1960s (Box 2, ER02; 4 folders, 0.002 GB)
  • Series 4: Printed Material, 1961-1982 (Boxes 2-3; 5 folders)
  • Series 5: Scrapbooks, circa 1959-1962 (Boxes 2-3: 0.3 linear ft.)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
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.

Administration
Processing Information
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. Born-digital material was processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.
Author
Harriet E. Shapiro and Erin Kinhart
Immediate Source of Acquisition
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 were donated in 2015 by Doris Aach, a friend who transcribed them for de Kooning.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Elaine de Kooning papers, circa 1959-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original materials requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
The Elaine de Kooning papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Related Materials
Among the holding of the Archives is an oral history interview conducted in 1981 by Phyllis Tuchman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project. Also found is a collection of Elaine and Willem de Kooning financial records.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists -- Political activity Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Capital punishment Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abstract expressionism -- New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art teachers -- New York (State) Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists -- New York (State) Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Kooning, Willem, 1904- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chessman, Caryl, 1921-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/