|Elaine de Kooning was stimulated by her mother's enthusiasm for art. She took her to museums, gave her books on art, and suggested to her daughter to draw what she saw. Even before she entered high school Elaine knew she wanted to be a painter. While studying she was introduced to Willem de Kooning in 1938; she became his student and five years later, his wife. They were the typical artist couple in the 1940's, struggling with serious financial hardships while producing tremendously innovative work. by the early 1950's she was producing stylized paintings based on news photographs of sports figures. She was also an art critic for Artnews and wrote articles about American Modernist painters. In one respect de Kooning was very unusual for an Abstract Expressionist: along with her abstract work she developed a reputation as a portrait painter.