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George Tooker

Post #923 • December 19, 2006, 4:45 PM • 2 Comments

DC Moore Gallery kindly sent me this image of a work it had up at Art Basel/Miami Beach.

George Tooker, Woman With Oranges, 1977, egg tempera on gesso panel, 23 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches

It was one of the highlights. Satiny and transluscent, egg tempera looks more like the opalescence of human skin more than any other material. Surfaces flicker, but reticently. Tooker was an important participant in the American revival of egg tempera, along with his friend Paul Cadmus, and as such drew stylistically and materially from Fra Angelica while dealing with the angst of urban living. The painting above seems like an ode to Mexicana, but with an uncomfortable remove between the viewer and the model. Tooker is now 86, and I'd like to hear if he's still working. I hope so.




December 19, 2006, 8:19 PM

George Tookers work in the past never appealed to me.
I always liked his subject matter but I thought the way he painted looked to stylised almost to the point of being bland. After all those years looking at his work in reproductions I saw for the first time one of his paintings in person (10 years ago @ Art Miami @ Forum Gallery booth) it gave me a new appreciation of his work. Reproduction of egg tempera is impossible to capture the surface in a photo. In seeing the work I fell in love with the paintings beautiful surface of Egg tempera and I relized he is a great painter. I am sorry for missing this painting at Art Basel Miami I would of liked to have seen it in person.

His paintings give me the feeling of loneliness and they emote a kind of strangeness almost akin to same feeling an Alfred Hitchcock or maybe even a fellinni movie has (does that sound crazy?).



December 19, 2006, 10:07 PM

Not crazy at all, RL - he's a theatrical painter, like Cadmus was, but not so over-the-top.



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