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George Tooker: August 5, 1920 – March 27, 2011
March 30, 2011 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Master painter of the anxious, alienated, mysterious and sublime, George Tooker : August 5, 1920March 27, 2011
posted by y2karl (27 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Iridic at 8:43 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Videos for George Tooker

Note: last link possibly NSFW
posted by y2karl at 8:45 AM on March 30, 2011


I remember first encountering his paintings as a teenager in the late 70s, finding them in various bound art books (and, for some reason, Omni magazine), and being haunted by them for weeks. Amazing artist, and I'm sorry I hadn't thought about him in years even if the imagery continued crawling about in my head. Good for him to have had such a long, productive life, and to have continued developing himself in the intervening years.
posted by ardgedee at 8:46 AM on March 30, 2011


I first encountered him in Avant Garde magazine in the late 60s, and have been haunted by his work, myself, ever since.
posted by y2karl at 8:53 AM on March 30, 2011


He worked primarily in egg tempera, which is as exacting and unforgiving as can be. Combine that attention and intention with his subject matter and you get an artist who couldn't be farther from the dominant artistic zeitgeist from when he rose to prominence - Pollack, et al. Exquisite, uncompromising, and unforgettable work.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:01 AM on March 30, 2011


Sleepers II is one of my favorites.
posted by y2karl at 9:04 AM on March 30, 2011


As is In The Summerhouse, the first link by dirtdirt above....
posted by y2karl at 9:06 AM on March 30, 2011


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posted by timshel at 9:17 AM on March 30, 2011


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posted by Max Power at 9:23 AM on March 30, 2011


I should like to add a shout out to Ten Dreams Fine Art Galleries, a site previously unknown to me prior to creating this post.
posted by y2karl at 9:26 AM on March 30, 2011


The gallery in Ten Dreams has expanded my appreciation of Tooker enormously. Who knew? What a great painter. How lucky we were to have him.
posted by Faze at 9:31 AM on March 30, 2011


Like you I first saw Tooker's art in the 60's and also have been haunted by his work ever since. Once it had been seen it couldn't be unseen.

Thank you y2karl for creating such a good obit. I had no idea Tooker had until recently been among the living. 90 is a good run. Hartland, Vermont seems like it would have been a good place for him to live.

Here is a good Biography of Tooker at the superb Weimar website.

An enjoyable online gallery of his works here that shows many of his paintings portrayed radiant beauty as well.

Yes! That Sleepers II one is amazing. I like learning now that his middle name was Clair, as in clarity.

There was a time in the late 60's where his work appeared all over the place in various magazines. His dark vision of a bureaucratised, lonely, depressed, alienated, boxed in, Orwellian powerlessness, cut-off society of urban people had a deep impact on my life then and was very much a part of my unarticulated decision to leave NYC in 1970, head to England, then a more rural Italy, Greek islands and mountains in India.

I didn't want to participate in that sad purgatory he depicted so eloquently. Now, living in NYC again I see it's possible to include joy in the day, that not all joy has to do with Nature but can come from within, as he also depicted so beautifully.

Condolences to his daughter, his nephew, friends and any other relatives.
posted by nickyskye at 9:48 AM on March 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thank you.

Not all the links in the first link in the FPP are valid but nonetheless, an enlightening experience.

I like his paintings.
posted by infini at 10:03 AM on March 30, 2011


And here, in two parts, is a Tooker Gallery from the Tigertail Virtual Museum, subject of my first post here. I am quite surprised and quite pleased to see it is still with us ten years later.
posted by y2karl at 10:26 AM on March 30, 2011


Thank you for this. At some point I saw this painting, and it has haunted me since. Every time I wait on line in a government building, or hear social worker friends' tales of wrestling with bureaucracy, it springs to mind.

I'm sorry to learn that Mr. Tooker has passed, but I am glad to finally know his name.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:08 AM on March 30, 2011


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They do stay with you as other people have remarked. So, thank you Mr Tooker for what you put into this world.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:02 PM on March 30, 2011


Thank you for introducing me to his work. There is no better adjective for it than haunting.
posted by PepperMax at 12:30 PM on March 30, 2011


Condolences to his daughter, his nephew, friends and any other relatives.

Actually, from reading between the lines of his various obituaries and biographies, I rather suspect The Artist's Daughter is a portrait of a child not his own.
posted by y2karl at 12:51 PM on March 30, 2011


His art is wonderful. I was never aware of his work before, so thanks for the FPP.

That being said, the java interface on the first link ("George") is the WORST ever. I turned off Flash Block, Ad Block Plus, and Cookies Whitelist, and even then the pictures still misloaded.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:00 PM on March 30, 2011


Eh, got it working. Interface still sucks.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:01 PM on March 30, 2011


Pollack, et al.

Erm, Pollock.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:01 PM on March 30, 2011


Actually, from reading between the lines of his various obituaries and biographies, I rather suspect The Artist's Daughter is a portrait of a child not his own.

Yes, it seems likely. Athough she bears a resemblance to him too.

Yes, was dashing to work when I typed that comment and wanted to research more. I know from the Weimar site biography that his beloved was the painter William Christopher. That has been an interesting tangent. Papers of William Christopher.

Here's a fun old photograph of Tooker and William Christopher camping it up in 1951. On Fire Island in 1945. W. Christopher with presumably one of his own paintings.

A nice slideshow of some of Tooker's paintings. Another site with good images.
posted by nickyskye at 5:39 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, y2karl & nickyskye for the wonderful links.

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posted by biddeford at 6:32 PM on March 30, 2011


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I first came across George Tooker's paintings in an old copy of Avant Garde magazine I found in our basement. He was probably the first artist I can really remember being aware of. I've always loved his work.
posted by phooky at 7:25 PM on March 30, 2011


Oh geez, one of my absolute favorites. And it's not just the anxious works. The sensual ones are amazing.
posted by dame at 8:40 PM on March 30, 2011


Such a striking and distinctive style. I first saw his Subway painting as a teenager and it has stayed with me; haven't seen it in many years, but immediately knew this was the guy when seeing your post.

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posted by LobsterMitten at 8:59 PM on March 30, 2011


wow. subway is how it is

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posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:02 PM on March 30, 2011


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