PAUL JENKINS

Paul Jenkins

Phenomena Land in Site

1970

Acrylic on canvas

35″ x 45-1/2″ (88.9 x 115.3 cm)

Framed: 36-1/4″ x 46-3/4″ (92.1 x 118.7 cm)

Paul Jenkins (1923-2012) is a major artist in post-war abstraction whose work is recognized for its luminous flows of color combining opacity and transparency to both emanate and reflect light.  An early pioneer of poured paint, Jenkins worked on paper and primed canvas.  His paintings have achieved prominence for the fluidity of their forms as well as their gem-like veils of color which have characterized his work since the 1950s. Full of verve with a profoundly spiritual aspect, his paintings have a natural feeling to them, with rarely any trace of the artist’s hand.  “A painting” he said, “should be a world not a thing.”

Paul Jenkins was born in Kansas City, Missouri. At an early age, he studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, and created watercolors he called “interior landscapes,” reminiscent of caves he visited in the Ozarks and other forms in nature. Through his frequent visits to the Nelson-Atkins Gallery of Art, he was profoundly influenced by the renowned collection of Eastern works, notably by the monumental Chinese fresco of Buddha, the polychrome sculpture of the Bodhisattva Kuan-Yin, Indian bronzes and meditative statues.Jenkins’ pursuit of his art was strong when, in 1944, he entered the US Naval Air Corps where he served as a pharmacist’s mate. During this time he painted watercolors of Kabuki dancers and made what the late distinguished art historian Albert E. Elsen described as “Durer-esque” black and white graphite drawings.  He was also drawn to the teachings of Lao Tse Tung in the Tao Te Ching.

After his discharge in 1946 from the US Naval Air Corps, Jenkins studied playwriting at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh and continued a solo pursuit in drawing and painting. Under the G.I. Bill, he studied with Yasuo Kuniyoshi for four years at the Art Students League in New York and met Mark Rothko, as well as Jackson Pollock, with whom he remained friends.

In 1953 he traveled to Europe where he was deeply moved by the works in the Prado in Madrid, Spain.  During his stay of several months in Taormina, Sicily, he worked in oil on canvas.  Later that year, Jenkins settled in Paris, and came to know Jean Dubuffet and, soon after, Michel Tapié, Pierre Restany, Kenneth B. Sawyer, among others.  In 1954, he met Martha Jackson in Paris and traveled to the Venice Biennial. He began to study Carl Gustav Jung’s Psychology and Alchemy and the I Ching:  The Confucian Book of Changes. In 1955, the artist traveled from Paris to New York where he came to know Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Ad Reinhardt, Robert Motherwell and visited Mark Rothko’s studio on the West side, near what is now Lincoln Center.

In 1956, the Martha Jackson Gallery held Jenkins’ first solo exhibition in New York.  Before returning to Paris, Jenkins visited Jackson Pollock’s studio in Springs. In addition to his exhibitions with the Martha Jackson Gallery, Jenkins exhibited in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1956); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1957, 1958); the Pittsburgh International at the Carnegie Institute Museum of Art (1958), Corcoran Biennial, Washington, D.C. (1958); Gutai Osaka Festival (1959), as well as Arthur Tooth & Sons, London; Galeries Stadler, Rive Droite and Arnaud, Paris.  In late 1957 for two years, he exchanged his Paris atelier for Joan Mitchell’s New York studio at St. Mark’s Place where in 1959 he painted the Eyes of the Dove series on canvas.

In early 1960, Jenkins began gradually to work in acrylic and to use an ivory knife to guide the flow of paint on canvas.  He studied the works of Kant and, influenced by Goethe’s theories of color, began to title his paintings Phenomena followed by a key phrase or word. In 1962 Jenkins met Albert E. Elsen, who would later write the artist’s monograph published in 1973 by Harry N. Abrams.   In November of 1963, he moved into Willem de Kooning’s loft at 831 Broadway where he worked until the end of 2000.  Jenkins’ first retrospective took place at the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hanover, Germany in 1964. That same year, he traveled to Japan where he worked with Yoshihara and the Gutai in Osaka, followed by travel to India and, in 1966, to Russia.  In 1966, the film Paul Jenkins at Work: The Ivory Knife, received the Golden Lion Award in Venice and was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1967, Jenkins received the silver medal at the Corcoran’s 30th Biennial, and from 1968 to 1970, created a series of unique glass sculptures in Murano with Egidio Costantini.

During this decade, granular veils appeared in his works on canvas and he continued his exploration of monochrome paintings, including grisaille. He participated in group exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1960), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1961); Royal Academy of Arts, London (1962, 1963); Tate Gallery, London (1964), Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1965), Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1966, 1967), the Pittsburgh International at the Carnegie Museum of Art (1967), Museum of Modern Art, New York (1967); Musée du Louvre, Paris (1967), among others.

In the early 1970s, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts held a retrospective exhibition of his works on canvas. The Corcoran Gallery of Art initiated in 1972 an exhibition of his watercolors which traveled across the US, and in 1973, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humanites from Lindenwood College in Missouri. In 1974, the Musée des Beaux Arts of Charleroi in Belgium held a retrospective. Emerging from this decade along with major large-scale works on canvas were lithographs, watercolors painted en plein air in the Caribbean, autobiographical collages and sculptures in stone and bronze, including Meditation Mandala currently on view in the Hofstra Museum Sculpture Garden. He participated in group exhibitions at the Palazzo Ducale, Venice (1970); Krannert Art Museum, Champaign-Urbana (1971); Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo (1975); Archer M. Huntington Gallery, University of Texas at Austin (1976); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1977); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1977); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1977), among others.

In 1980, France named Jenkins an Officer of Arts and Letters, and the Palm Springs Art Museum held a retrospective. In 1982, he received the Humanitarian Award from the National Committee of Arts for the Handicapped. By 1983, France had named Jenkins a Commander of Arts and Letters.  Also in 1983, Harry Abrams published his autobiographical monograph, Anatomy of a Cloud, and in 1987, the Musée Picasso in Antibes mounted a retrospective of his works on canvas.  During that year, the Paris Opera staged his dance-drama, Shaman to the Prism Seen, featuring two original monumental works on canvas painted by the artist for the stage, together with five tall works on canvas also painted by the artist. The following year, Jenkins was commissioned to travel to China where he painted silks for a performance at the Great Hall of the People and for the Great Wall.  In 1989, the Museums of Nice presented the original painted décors from the Paris Opera, together with related watercolors.

Throughout the 80s, Jenkins participated in group exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn (1984), Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton (1984), National Museum of Osaka (1985), Musée Rath, Geneva (1986), Australian National Gallery, Canberra (1987), Duke University Museum of Art (1988), L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1989), among others.

In the 1990s, Jenkins was invited to travel to Israel, and also visited Japan where his painted silks from China were integrated on stage by director Tadashi Suzuki. Polyptychs on canvas were shown in New York and London. The watercolor exhibition L’Eau et la Couleur, including watercolors relating to the Paris Opera as well as large-scale, was inaugurated in France where it traveled for two years.  In 1996, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities by Hofstra University and that same year, the artist wrote an allegorical tale about color, Prism Moon to the Shaman.   Jenkins received the Life Achievement award from the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown in 1997, as well as the medal of the City of Paris.  In 1998, the Royal Cambrian Academy in Wales elected him an honorary member.  For the 1999 Gutai exhibition at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, Jenkins wrote a text about his working with the Gutai in Osaka in 1964. Throughout this decade, the artist also worked in lithography at the Atelier Bordas in Paris, and created monotypes at Smith Andersen in Palo Alto.

He participated in group exhibitions at Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton (1990); Tate Gallery, London (1991); L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1992); Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia (1993); Stanford University Museum of Art, Stanford, California (1995); Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e cotemporanea, Turin (1997); Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn (1998); Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa (1999); and Fondation Maeght (1993, 1999).

The year 2000 opened with an exhibition of his watercolors at the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown. The Artist’s Fellowship in New York awarded Jenkins its Benjamin Clinedinst Medal. An extensive exhibition of his works on canvas and paper, Viaggio in Italia, was mounted by the City of Vicenza in Palladio’s Basilica Palladiana.  In 2001 he traveled to Kyoto to take part in the Fire Ceremony performed by Rev. Seiyu Kiriyama Kancho. Also in 2001 Le Centre d’Art Contemporain in Saumur exhibited a comprehensive selection of his recent canvases. In New York in 2005, the artist created a series of paintings shown at the Cistercian abbey in Roque d’Anthéron, France.  Works on canvas were shown in his 2005 exhibition Œuvres Majeures at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Lille where he was also awarded the medal of the City of Lille.  In 2006, the exhibition Water and Color was shown at the Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock. The following year, the artist donated a major part of his papers to the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution. In 2009, the Pollock-Krasner House & Study Center in East Hampton held an exhibition based on Jenkins’ Gutai collection of paintings by artists he worked with in Osaka in 1964.  In 2010, the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento exhibited The Color of Light, watercolors together with selected paintings on canvas.

Throughout the 2000s, Jenkins participated in group exhibitions at the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester (2001); San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego (2003); Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art (2004); Musée du Luxembourg, Paris (2006); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2007); Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah (2007); San Jose Museum of Art (2009); UB Anderson Gallery, State University of NY at Buffalo (2010); Chrysler Museum, Norfolk (2012); San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose (2012); Palm Springs Museum of Art, Palm Springs (2013).

Jenkins’ works continue to be widely exhibited around the world and are found in international museums and private collections including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum in New York; the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; the Tate Gallery in London; Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In California, his work is found in the collections of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the San Jose Museum of Art; the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; the Palm Springs Museum of Art; the San Diego Museum of Art and the Crocker Art Museum.

Jenkins is remembered today for his major contributions that rank him among the significant artists of the Post-War era.

2015 – “Important Works on Paper” Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art

2012 – Robert Green Fine Arts, Mill Valley, California

2011 – The Redfern Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2010 – Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California

2010 – Robert Green Fine Arts, Mill Valley, California

2010 – Palazzo Pacchiani, Prato, Italy

2010 – Galleria Open Art, Prato, Italy

2010 – UB Anderson Gallery, State University of New York at Buffalo, New York

2010 – Galleria Civica Ezio Mariani di Seregno, Italy

2009 – D. Wigmore Fine Art, New York, New York

2009 – Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Jacksonville, Florida

2009 – Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, New York, New York

2009 – Robert Green Fine Arts, Mill Valley, California

2008 – Robert Green Fine Arts, Mill Valley, California

2007 – Galleria Open Art, Cornice Art Fair, Venice, Italy

2007 – Redfern Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2007 – D. Wigmore Fine Art, New York, New York

2006 – Robert Green Fine Arts, Mill Valley, California

2006 – Maison des Princes de Pérouges.  Pérouges, France

2006 – Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas

2005 – Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, France

2005 – Redfern Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2005 – Galleria Open Art, Prato, Italy

2005 – Abbaye de Silvacane, La Roque d’Anthéron, France

2005 – Robert Green Fine Arts, Mill Valley, California

2005 – Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland

2004 – Museo Civico, Assessorato alla Cultura di Pizzighettone, Italy

2003 – Harmon-Meek Gallery, Naples, Florida

2003 – Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina

2003 – Redfern Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2002 – Chateau Haut-Gléon, Les Corbières, France

2001 – Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland

2001 – Centre d’Art Contemporain, Bouvet Ladubay, Saumur, France

2000 – Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

2000 – Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza, Italy

2000 – Joseph Rickards Gallery, New York, New York

2000 – Vero Beach Museum of Art, Vero Beach, Florida

2000 – Agama Gallery, New York, New York

1999 – Galerie Wild, Frankfurt, Germany

1999 – Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris, France

1999 – Hofstra Museum, Hempstead, New York, New York

1999 – Joseph Rickards Gallery, New York, New York

1998 – Joseph Rickards Gallery, New York, New York

1997 – Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

1997 – Galerie Georges Fall, Paris, France

1997 – Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland

1996 – Lorenzelli Arte, Milan, Italy

1995 – Artcurial, Paris, France

1995 – Centre d’art contemporain, Bouvet Ladubay, Saumur, France

1995 – Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland

1995 -Chateau Musée Grimaldi, Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

1995 – Associated American Artists, New York, New York

1994 – Gallery Art Point, Tokyo, Japan

1994 – Pasquale Iannetti Gallery, San Francisco, California

1994 -L’Eau et la Couleur, traveling watercolor exhibition in France.

1994 -La Maison Française, New York University, New York, New York

1993 – Smith Andersen Gallery, Palo Alto, California

1993 -Yoshii Gallery, Paris, France

1993 -Associated American Artists, New York, New York

1992 – Roswitha Haftmann Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland

1992 – Atelier Franck Bordas, Basel Art Fair and Paris, France

1992 – Guy Pieters Gallery, Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium

1992 – Associated American Artists, New York

1992 – Galerie Iris Wazzau, Davos, Switzerland

1991 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1991 – Gimpel Fils, London, United Kingdom

1990 – Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris, France

1990 – Castello Doria, Portovenere, Italy

1990 – Gallery Art Point, Tokyo, Japan

1989 – Musées de Nice, Galerie des Ponchettes et Galerie d’Art Contemporain, Nice, France

1988 – Samuel Stein Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

1988 – Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris, France

1988 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1988 – Galerie Régis Dorval, Le Touquet, France

1988 – Gana Gallery, Seoul, South Korea

1988 – Galleria La Loggia, Bologna, Italy

1987 – Galerie 63, Klosters, Switzerland

1987 – Samuel Stein Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

1987 – Musée Picasso, Antibes, France (retrospective).

1987 – Galerie Régis Dorval, Lille, France

1987 – Galleri Atrium, Stockholm, Sweden

1986 – Gimpel Fils, London, United Kingdom

1986 – MR Galleria d’Arte Contemporaneo, Rome, Italy

1986 – Galerie Michel Delorme, Paris, France

1986 – Roswitha Haftmann, Zurich, Switzerland

1986 – Gallery Art Point, Tokyo, Japan

1986 – Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

1986 – Focus Gallery, Lausanne, Switzerland

1986 – Elaine Horwitch Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

1986 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1985 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1985 – Gallery Moos, Toronto, Canada

1985 – Galerie Georges Fall, Paris, France

1985 – Gallery Art Atrium, Stockholm, Sweden

1985 – FIAC, Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, Paris, France

1984 – Carone Gallery, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

1984 – Musée d’Art Contemporain, Dunkirk, France

1983 – Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts

1983 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1983 – Galerie Georges Fall, Paris, France

1983 – Alex Rosenberg Gallery, New York, New York

1983 – Contemporary Gallery, Dallas, Texas

1982 – Nicoline Pon Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland

1982 – Gimpel Fils, London, United Kingdom

1982 – .I. Irving Feldman Galleries, Detroit, Michigan

1982 – Galerie Georges Fall, Paris.

1982 – Contemporary Gallery, Dallas, Texas

1981 – Belk Art Gallery, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina

1981 – Carone Gallery, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

1981 – Samuel Stein Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

1981 – French Cultural Services, New York, and la Maison International du Théâtre, Théâtre du Rond-Point, Paris, France

1981 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1981 – I. Irving Feldman Galleries, Sarasota, Florida

1980 – Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California (retrospective)

1980 – Elaine Horwitch Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona

1980 – Gimpel Fils, London, United Kingdom

1980 – Contemporary Gallery, Dallas, Texas

1980 – Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris, France

1979 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1979 – Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, Germany

1979 – Elaine Horwitch Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona

1978 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1978 – Samuel Stein Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

1978 – Elaine Horwitch Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

1978 – Balcon des Arts, Paris, France

1978 – Diane Gilson Gallery, Seattle, Washington

1978 – Galleria d’Arte Narciso, Turin, Italy

1977 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1977 – Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland

1977 – La Galerie Cours Saint-Pierre, Geneva, Switzerland

1977 – Sears Bank & Trust Company, Chicago, Illinois

1977 – Contemporary Gallery, Dallas, Texas

1977 – Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma

1977 – Diane Gilson Gallery, Seattle, Washington

1976 – Samuel Stein Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

1976 – Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris and Basel Art Fair, Basel

1976 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1975 – Galerie Tanit, Munich, Germany

1975 – Carone Gallery, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

1974 – Musée des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi, Charleroi, Belgium (retrospective)

1974 – Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, Germany

1974 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1974 – Gimpel Fils, London, United Kingdom

1974 – Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio

1973 – Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris, France

1973 – Art Gallery of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

1973 – Lindenwood College Art Gallery, St. Charles, Missouri

1973 – Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

1973 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1973 – Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York, New York

1972 – San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, California (retrospective)

1972 – Gimpel Fils, London, United Kingdom

1972 – Abrams Original Editions, New York, New York

1972 – Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Travels to: the Amarillo Art Center, Amarillo, Texas; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana; Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Lauren Rodgers Memorial Library and Art Gallery, Laurel, Missouri; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama; Witte Memorial Museum, San Antonio, Texas

1971 – Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (retrospective)

1971 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1971 – Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

1970 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1970 – Gertrude Kasle Gallery, Detroit, Michigan

1969 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1968 – Galerie Daniel Gervis, Paris, France

1968 – Gallery Moos, Toronto, Canada

1968 – Galerie Räber, Luzern, Switzerland

1968 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1966 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1966 – Galerie Agnès LeFort, Montreal, Canada

1966 – Hope Makler Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1966 – Arthur Tooth & Sons, London, United Kingdom

1965 – Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris, France

1965 – Gertrude Kasle Gallery, Detroit, Michigan

1965 – Court Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

1965 – Gallery of Modern Art, Scottsdale, Arizona

1964 – Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1964 – American Art Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

1964 – Kumar Gallery, New Delhi, India

1964 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1964 – Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover, Germany (retrospective)

1963 – Arthur Tooth & Sons, London.

1963 – Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris, France

1963 – Gallery Moos, Toronto, Canada

1962 – Galerie Lienhard, Zurich, Switzerland

1962 – Toninelli Arte Moderna, Milan, Italy

1962 – Galleria Odyssia, Rome, Italy

1962 – Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany

1962 – Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris, France

1962 – Esther Robles Gallery, Los Angeles, California

1961 – University Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minnesota

1961 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1961 – Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris, France

1960 – Arthur Tooth & Sons, London, United Kingdom

1960 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1960 – Galerie d’Art Moderne, Stuttgart, Germany

1960 – Esther Robles Gallery, Los Angeles, California

1959 – Galerie Stadler, Paris, France

1958 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1957 – Galerie Stadler, Paris, France

1956 – Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, New York

1955 – Zoe Dusanne Gallery, Seattle, Washington

1954 – Zimmergalerie Franck, Frankfort, Germany

1954 – Studio Paul Facchetti, Paris, France

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