George Clair Tooker Biography

George Clair Tooker




George Clair Tooker, painter and printmaker, was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 5, 1920. He studied at the Phillips Academy, a prep school in Andover, Massachusetts, and received his AB degree from Harvard University in 1942. That same year he entered the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School.


Between 1943 and 1945, Tooker was enrolled at the New York Art Students' League where he studied with Reginald Marsh, Kenneth Hayes Miller and Harry Sternberg. He studied privately with Paul Cadmus in 1946. While still a student at the ASL, Tooker exhibited with the Brooklyn Society of Artists in 1944. His work was included in the Museum of Modern Art's 1945 exhibition, Fifteen Americans, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 1950 exhibition, Nineteen Young Americans. The first solo exhibition of his paintings was mounted at the Edwin Hewitt Gallery in New York in 1951. Tooker produced his first graphics in the mid 1970s working in embossed intaglio and lithography.

Tooker was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1968, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and he received the National Medal of Arts in 2007. His work is represented in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Institute and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

Tooker moved to Hartland, Vermont in 1958, and permanently in 1975.  Before his move he spread his time between Brooklyn, New York and Spain.  George Tooker died on March 28, 2011 in Hartland, Vermont at the age of 90.