The Easel

Why Elaine de Kooning Sacrificed Her Own Amazing Career for Her More-Famous Husband’s

Unequal success between the partners of a marriage is a challenge. Elaine de Kooning was a highly talented artist. Her unique abstract expressionist style earned her an invitation to paint JFK’s portrait in 1963. However, the de Kooning marriage was turbulent, perhaps because she was the dimmer of two bright stars. Her personal assessment – “’I don’t paint in his shadow, I paint in his light.'”