Introduction by Karen Kennedy, Director of Architectural History at Preservation Studios, LLC.

Elaine de Kooning (1918—1989) has been recognized among the “first generation” of Abstract Expressionist painters. Her work was featured in the Museum of Modern Art-organized Young American Painters (1956—58). She continued to make portraits during this formative period of American postwar art when arguably, for the first time, the most radical new painting was happening in New York.

In late 1962 and early 1963, she completed a series of studies and finished portraits of President John F. Kennedy, which was the most important commission in her career.

In 1975, Elaine purchased the traditional saltbox house on Alewive Brook Road in East Hampton. She commissioned local architect Hans Noe to design a studio and loft for the north end of the house in 1978. She later had two small additions and a deck built on the property.

The Elaine de Kooning House and Studio is comprised of two distinct masses: the two-story, roughly two-bay by three-bay, front-gabled house (1968) and the one-and-a-half-story, roughly two-bay by five-bay, cross- gabled studio (1978). The two sections are connected by a one-story, L-shaped hyphen. The house features large exposed beams, a floating wooden staircase, a large open kitchen, a wide white brick fireplace, and wood floors. A one-story shedroofed sunroom with a large angled plate glass and metal window is located on the south elevation (builder Bill Sturgis, date unknown). The studio has large angled plate glass and metal windows extending on its north elevation, as well as a small bedroom and living area on the first floor, a second-story loft, and a wide-open working space with paint-spattered plywood floors.

Elaine resided at this home and studio for fourteen years, the longest period she ever maintained a studio. Notable works created during this time include: Portrait of Alex Katz, 1975; Portrait of Kaldis, 1977; Bacchus, #80, 1983; Cave, #49; Morning Horses, 1984; Sirocco Wall, 1987; Portrait of Aladar Marberger, 1986; Sun Wall, 1986—87; and Megan Boyd, 1987.

Elaine was elected to the National Academy of Design as an Associate member in 1985 and raised to a full academician in 1988.

After she died in 1989, the house was owned by sculptor John Chamberlain and painter Richmond Burton before it was purchased as an exhibition and residency space in 2010 to honor Elaine de Kooning's legacy.

Since 2011, the Elaine de Kooning House has hosted events, exhibitions, and informal artist residencies with the artists Laurie Anderson, Charles Andresen, Aaron Aujla, Frank Benson, Katherine Bernhardt, Lizzi Bougatsos, Joe Bradley, Jessie Dunahoo, Chris Duncan, Jonah Freeman, and Justin Lowe, Mike Goodlett, Eric Haze, Lonnie Holley, Sedrick Huckaby, Shara Hughes, Kim “Mudman” Jones, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Laura and Rachel Lancaster, Sadie Laska, Jose Lerma, Josephine Meckseper, Liz Markus, Adam Marnie, Keith Mayerson, Scott and Tyson Reeder, John Riepenhoff, Kambel Smith, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, M. Louise Stanley, Jerry “The Marble Faun” Torre, Michael Williams, Mary Weatherford, and Anke Weyer.

The Elaine de Kooning House and Studio was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior on January 26, 2022.

The residence is an affiliate member of Historic Artists' Homes and Studios (HAHS), a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.