Willem de Kooning (; Dutch: [ˈʋɪləm də ˈkoːnɪŋ]; April 24, 1904 – March 19, 1997) was a Dutch-American abstract expressionist artist. He was born in Rotterdam and moved to the United States in 1926, becoming an American citizen in 1962. In 1943, he married painter Elaine Fried.
A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive role. He does not act; he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that “they” will never allow him to do this, that, and the other. Once when I was hop-picking I asked the sweated pickers (they earn something under sixpence an hour) why they did not form a union. I was told immediately that “they” would never allow it. Who were “they”? I asked. Nobody seemed to know, but evidently “they” were omnipotent.