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collections > permanent collection > prints > george tooker
 

George Tooker
(American, b. 1920)
Window, n.d.
Lithograph, 11/175, 30 1/8" x 25 1/2"

Gift of the Frank and Margaret Sullivan Fund (2010.071)

George Tooker, who made his first print in 1975, is a leading figure among the group known as the Magic Realists.  In his figure studies, he combines a strong sense of form with a disquieting aura of mystery.  His lithograph, Window, belongs to a series of works that the artist began decades earlier, in the mid-1950s.  Inspired by vignettes seen in the windows surrounding his then home in Brooklyn Heights, New York, Tooker’s Window series is a vehicle for the exploration of psychological states.  An effective metaphor for inward and outward reality, the window is also a convenient framing device for Tooker’s compositions.

Tooker was born in Brooklyn and attended Harvard College.  In 1943, he enrolled in the Art Students League of New York as a pupil of Kenneth Hayes Miller, Reginald Marsh, and Harry Sternberg.  Through Marsh and painter Paul Cadmus, Tooker became interested in the style and techniques of the Italian Renaissance.  His work gained increasing recognition beginning in 1950, with the purchase of his major painting, Subway, by the Whitney Museum of American Art.  With Cadmus, Jared French, Robert Vickrey, and others, Tooker pursued Realist painting despite the dominance of Abstract Expressionism.  Employing traditional subject matter to delve into contemporary issues of urbanization and technological estrangement, Tooker and his fellow Magic Realists have revitalized American Realism and maintained its relevance to the present day.