Jack Tworkov

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Jack Tworkov
Jack Tworkov 1950.jpg
Tworkov circa 1950
Born 1900 (1900)
Biała Podlaska
Died 1982 (1983)
Nationality American
Education National Academy of Design, Art Students League of New York
Known for Painting
Movement Abstract expressionism

Jack Tworkov (15 August 1900 – 4 September 1982) was a Polish-born American abstract expressionist painter.


He was born in Biała Podlaska, Russian Empire and immigrated to the United States in 1913 with his mother and younger sister who would later become known as Janice Biala. With the intent to become a writer, Tworkov studied at Columbia University, but after experiencing the paintings by Cézanne and Matisse for the first time in early 1921, he became determined to study art and did so at the National Academy of Design and Art Students League of New York.

During the Depression Era, Tworkov met Willem de Kooning, among others, and together with a group of abstract expressionists including Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, founded the New York School. During his lifetime, Tworkov had taught at several institutions, including the American University, Black Mountain College, Queens College, Pratt Institute, University of Minnesota, Columbia University, and Yale University where he was the Chairman of the Art Department from 1963 - 1969. As Chairman of the Art Department at Yale, Tworkov invited known artists to teach, including Al Held, Knox Martin, George Wardlaw, and Bernard Chaet. Among the students of that era were Chuck Close, Jennifer Bartlett, Richard Serra, Nancy Graves, Rackstraw Downes, and Brice Marden.

Tworkov is regarded as an important and influential artist, along with Mark Rothko, de Kooning, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, and Jackson Pollock, whose gestural paintings of the early 1950s formed the basis for the abstract expressionist movement in America. Major work from this period is characterized by the use of gestural brush strokes in flame-like color. His work transitioned in during the mid-1960s. Straight lines and geometric patterns characterize his later art work.

What was formerly the UBS Art Gallery in New York exhibited five decades of Tworkov's work in the 2009 show, Against Extremes, "a tantalizing historical survey" charting everything from his de Kooning roots to his omnipresent "dream of freedom." [1]

Tworkov died in 1982 in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He was 82.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Yau, Jack Tworkov: Against Extremes: Five Decades of Painting, Brooklyn Rail, October 2009, [1]


External links[edit]