Woman IV 1952/53 -- Oil, enamel and charcoal on canvas Willem de Kooning'With Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning was perhaps the best known and most influential figure of the original group of artists who initiated the Abstract Expressionism movement. De Kooning's early paintings, from the 1930s, exhibited a variety of influences, including Cubism, Surrealism's biomorphic form and the work of his friend and colleague, Arshile Gorky. By the 1940s, de Kooning's work had diverged simultaneously in two different directions, embracing figure studies and high-key color abstractions. His most significant achievement was the synthesis of figuration and abstraction, combined with an aggressive, gestural brushstroke that gave his paintings a rich surface texture and vibrant energy.Between 1950 and 1953, de Kooning painted a series of six canvases, of which Woman IV is a part, depicting a single, female subject. Woman IV is typical of this series in its extreme fragmentation of form, exaggeration of proportion, shallow pictorial space and high-key color scheme. The painting depicts a female, who appears to be lifting her skirts while wading a body of water, represented by the blue band of color at the bottom of the image.De Kooning's "Women" series has been discussed negatively in term of his supposedly aggressive and unsympathetic treatment of the female subjects depicted in the paintings. His own comments, however, reveal the dual influence of the exploitation of female sexuality in popular culture during the 1950s and the long-standing tradition of figurative painting. In de Kooning's words, the women refer, in part, to "the female painted through all ages...all those idols..."'