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collections > permanent collection > paintings > Willie LEE Atkyns, JR.
 
Willie Lee Atkyns
(American, 1913-1987)
Untitled, 1968
Oil on Masonite, 47 1/2” x 29 1/2”
Gift of Larry Feathers (2008.016)

 

Willie Lee Atkyns experimented with many approaches to painting over the course of his career.  Of special interest to the artist were Abstract Expressionism and other nonobjective styles, a variety of which are represented in the Museum’s collection of Atkyns’ work.  With its drips and slashing brushstrokes, Untitled of 1968 reflects the combined influence of both Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, two of Abstract Expressionism’s leading figures during the 1950s.  Other Atkyns paintings recall earlier compositions by the Futurists and Surrealists. 

 

Born in the nation’s capital in 1913, Atkyns was primarily self-taught, yet he displayed a sure knowledge of contemporary and modern art.  Transcending the local art scene to exhibit his work in New York in 1941, Atkyns by 1950 had earned a reputation that enabled him to open his own art school in Washington, D.C.  Atkins also taught art in western Pennsylvania, and in 1975 he relocated to Duncansville, near Altoona.  In addition to recent gifts from individual donors, the Museum contains nine works bequeathed to the collection in 1988 by Atkins’ estate.