Tworkov, Jack

Tworkov, Jack, 1900–82, American painter, b. Bela, Russia (now Biała, Poland). His family immigrated to the United States in 1913 and settled in New York. He studied at Columbia (B.A., 1923) and later at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students' League. He became an American citizen in 1928. During the Great Depression, Tworkov worked (1935–41) for the WPA's Federal Art Project, painting in a social realist style. In the 1950s he, his friend Willem de Kooning, and several other artists created abstract expressionism. He became known for large abstract canvases covered with brilliantly colored, flamelike brushstrokes, e.g., Pink Mississippi (1954, Rockefeller Univ.) and Blue Cradle (1956), which are his best-known paintings. Works from the 1960s on are generally geometric rather than gestural, frequently built of broad grids of intersecting, usually subdued color. Tworkov taught at a number of colleges and headed (1963–69) the Yale art department.

See M. Schor, ed., The Extreme of the Middle: Writings of Jack Tworkov (2009).

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