Jack Tworkov, Blue Note, 1959
Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) was a Polish-born American painter who was a member of the New York School which created Abstract Expressionism. Tworkov moved to the United States in 1913 with his mother and younger sister, an artist in her own right named Janice Biala. He attended Columbia University, planning to become a writer, but decided to pursue art after seeing Cézanne and Matisse. He then studied at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. He initially met Willem de Kooning and then joined the other Abstract Expressionists in founding the New York School. Tworkov's art bears some resemblance to other painters in the group, but he is known for his large gestures of color. Even his early figurative work shows this technique, coming to full force when he embraced pure abstraction. In the sixties he began exploring lines and grids, eventually progressing to a more mechanical modernism. Blue Note is an excellent expression of Tworkov's signature style. Her the swaths of color lick the canvas, flamelike, and dance across the composition. Tworkov blends these colors, while also causing them to clash. There is a roughness and harshness to his approach, that particularly conveys the physical labor of painting. The visceral elements of the work stand out prominently and communicate the intensity with which Tworkov approached the piece.