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George Tooker Portrait

George Tooker

Also Known as: George Claire Tooker

New York, New York 1920

Hartland, Vermont 2011

Active in:

  • Malaga, Spain

Photo Caption:
George Tooker, 1965, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0002235


Painter. He studied with Reginald Marsh and Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League and later with Paul Cadmus. To achieve his haunting scenes of urban isolation and mechanization, Tooker employs the Renaissance egg termpera technique.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

George Tooker learned to paint from a local Long Island artist when he was just seven years old. He studied English literature, then joined the Marine Corps, but after an illness forced him to leave the service he decided to enter the Art Students League in New York. He befriended the painter Paul Cadmus, who encouraged him to use the classical medium of egg tempera. In 1950, Tooker and his lover, fellow artist William Christopher, rented an illegal loft in an unfashionable area of town, painting and making furniture in order to survive. After a few years, they moved to Vermont and spent their summers in Malaga, Spain. Tooker creates detailed paintings based on his own experiences that often evoke erotic, nightmarish worlds. (Garver, George Tooker, 1985)