With great sorrow, the family of Johanna Liesbeth (“Lisa”) de Kooning announces her passing on Friday, November 23, 2012. Ms. de Kooning died in her home on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The cause of death has not yet been determined.
Ms. de Kooning, born January 29, 1956, in New York, was the only child of Abstract-Expressionist artist Willem de Kooning (1904–1997) and illustrator Joan Ward (1927–2005). She is survived by her three children: Isabel, Emma, and Lucy de Kooning Villeneuve. Ms. de Kooning, known as Lisa to her family and friends, grew up first in Manhattan and then in The Springs, East Hampton, New York, after her father built his now legendary studio there. She established a Foundation in her father's name and a Trust for her own collection of his work. She was a leading force in maintaining and promoting her father’s legacy, and preserved and maintained his studio as he left it, to serve as a resource for children, artists, educators and scholars. She shared her knowledge and collection in connection with countless exhibitions and publications, and represented her father on such occasions as the public installation of his outdoor sculpture in Rotterdam, the city of his birth.
Ms. de Kooning, who was also a sculptor, was very actively philanthropic for a wide range of causes throughout her lifetime. The causes closest to her heart were art, children and animals, raising money for and donating to Boys and Girls Harbor, Art for Animals, the Isamu Noguchi Foundation, and local East End charities and art programs, such as the East Hampton Day Care Center, Ladies Village Improvement Society, Springs Fire Department, Longhouse Reserve and Robert Wilson’s Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation. In recent years, after establishing a home in St. John, she became active in its local causes, contributing to the Virgin Islands National Park and to Team River Runner’s Wounded Veterans USVI program. Like her father, however, she did not confine her generosity to established charities. Ms. de Kooning will be remembered not only for her commitments to the arts and her local communities, but for her spontaneous expressions of good will and kindness toward those she encountered in daily life. The funeral service will be private.
Pace Gallery is deeply saddened by the loss of Lisa de Kooning and expresses its most heartfelt condolences to her family.