american contemporary art GALLERY

                                                                            est. 1986


Jack Tworkov

1900 - 1982


Estate of Jack Tworkov

New York

Having emigrated from Poland with his family at the age of thirteen, Jack Tworkov studied at Columbia University (1920-1923) and the National Academy of Design (1923- 1925), followed by one year in the Art Students’ League (1925-1926).


The artist was strongly influenced by Picasso and Cézanne and devoted to the singular structures within the works of these artists. During a stint working for the WPA (1935- 1941), Tworkov met and befriended Willem de Kooning. Between 1948 and 1955, he occupied a studio next to de Koonings’, enabling an artistic exchange of ideas and opinions between the two.


Tworkovs’ style began its evolution through conventional figurative studies to embrace cubistic structure. Though never deeply involved with the ritualism, archaism and primitivism of the surrealists, Tworkov advanced a type of nature-based abstraction featuring configurations rendered with dynamic slashing strokes. His compositions are inspired by landscapes, the human figure becoming increasingly abstract in his works over time. Tworkovs’ style, however, never embraces pure abstraction as he continues to incorporate figurative elements. These paintings, based on the tension between figurative elements in the foreground and abstract forms in the background, reveal the strong influences of Surrealism and Cézanne. Tworkov was a founding member of the “Artists Club” and also took part in organizing the influential 1951 “Ninth Street Show”, a response to the Abstract Expressionists’ confrontation with the Metropolitan Museum and including Pollock, Hofmann, Gottlieb, de Kooning, Kline, Rothko, Newman, et al. In 1952, Tworkov taught art at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where Robert Rauschenberg was one of his students.


In 1961, Tworkov worked as a professor at the Yale School of Arts and Architecture, and between 1963 and 1969, the artist served as Chairman of the Art Department at Yale University. In 1970 he was awarded a fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.


As his work became more gestural, Tworkov developed a characteristic diagonal stroke, a signature feature of his mature work. He eventually integrated a graphic formalism, building his shapes on a matrix of grids and geometric structures and attaining a state of restrained, meditative elegance. His layering of color and simplified forms represent a lifetime of effort to distill the essence of painting.





american contemporary art GALLERY