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Two Women's Torsos

Multi-color pastel drawing of sharply distorted human figures.
© 2018 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • Multi-color pastel drawing of sharply distorted human figures.




Willem de Kooning
American, born Netherlands, 1904-1997

About this artwork

A pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, Willem de Kooning experimented with the human form throughout his career, which reached its apex in the early 1950s with his celebrated Woman series. Two Women’s Torsos was created during an intense campaign in which the artist focused on drawings related to his Woman paintings, which were exhibited together with this and other drawings at the Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, in 1953.

De Kooning’s drawings are admired for their number and variety as well as for the artist’s expressive technique, exemplified here by his gestural use of pastel in concert with charcoal. This drawing’s velvety texture and almost violently animated surface are characteristic of the approximately one hundred sheets that remain from his intense work on the woman theme in 1952 and 1953. Also typical of de Kooning’s art is the way in which Two Women’s Torsos references aspects of related paintings but stands alone as an independent work. As the artist tried to jettison traditional modes of composition, he used drawing as a primary vehicle for the sequential development of his most important early body of work.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Willem de Kooning


Two Women's Torsos


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Pastel and charcoal on ivory wove paper


Signed lower left, in graphite: "de Kooning"


47.9 × 61 cm (18 7/8 × 24 1/16 in.)

Credit Line

John H. Wrenn Memorial Collection

Reference Number



© 2018 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

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