Jack Tworkov was born in Poland and immigrated to the United States when he was thirteen. Aspiring to become a writer, he attended Columbia College as an English major, but after encountering the work of Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse for the first time, Tworkov decided to pursue painting instead. He studied under Ivan Olinsky and Charles Hawthorne at the National Academy of Design and Guy Pène du Bois and Boardman Robinson at the Arts Students League of New York.
A founding member of the New York School in the early 1950s, the late artist was a driving force behind the Abstract Expressionist movement in America. Tworkov also explored Social Realism and by the late 1960s he embarked on a more contemplative period, employing the grid-like structures and geometric forms of Minimalism. Although best known for his dramatic, gestural paintings, Tworkov refused to be defined by any one style. At the heart of his practice was a belief in freedom, openness and interdisciplinary dialogue. “My hope is to confront the picture without a ready technique or a prepared attitude,’’ he once wrote, “to have no program and, necessarily then, no preconceived style. To paint no Tworkovs.’’
Although most of Abstract Expressionism’s progenitors were of European heritage, it was informed by explorations of many different cultures, including those of Asia and Africa. The Abstract Expressionists introduced radically new approaches to making art—emphasizing process, spontaneity and the individual psyche—that profoundly influenced subsequent generations of artists across the globe.
Jack Tworkov’s works are in noted private and public collections worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Jewish Museum, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Massachusetts; and the Tate Modern, London.
Born in Biala Podlaska, Poland, 1900 and died in 1982 | Lived and worked in Washington, D.C.; New Haven, Connecticut; and New York
Crossfield 1, 1968, oil on canvas, 80 x 70 inches/203.2 x 177.8 cm
© The Estate of Jack Tworkov/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
With thanks to Hart Perry.