Tooker, George

Tooker, George

(George Clair Tooker, Jr.), 1920–2011, American painter, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., grad. Harvard (A.B., 1942), studied (1943–45) Art Students League, New York City, with Reginald MarshMarsh, Reginald,
1898–1954, American painter and illustrator, b. Paris. Both his parents were artists. After their return to the United States, he studied at Yale (B.A., 1920).
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. Part of the postwar magic realist movement, Tooker portrays a surrealist-tinged modern reality that often is marked by a sense of mystery, dread, and alienation. His tableaux, which are inhabited by isolated, still, bulky, sculpturally modeled people with round, masklike faces, usually are painted with egg tempera on gessoed panels, giving them a unique luminosity. In The Subway (1950), a frightened woman in a prisonlike subway station is surrounded by ominously anonymous figures (Whitney Mus., New York City); in Government Bureau (1956), figures stand and wait before bureaucrats seated in cubicles with frosted glass screens that obscure all but a small circle of their faces (Metropolitan Mus., New York City). A figurative artist when abstraction was ascendant, Tooker was rediscovered in the 1980s and has been particularly influential in the early 21st cent.


See biographical and critical study by T. H. Garver (rev. ed. 2008).

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Tooker, George (Clair, Jr.)

(1920–  ) painter; born in New York City. He studied at the Art Students League, New York (1943–44), and privately with Paul Cadmus. Based in New York, he used egg tempera as his medium to paint surrealistic urban scenes in a style called "magic realism," as in The Subway (1950).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Degas, Ingres, Paul Manship, Paul Cadmus, George Tooker, George Bellows and many of the WPA and Regionalist artists of the '30s and '40s.