Paul Jenkins (1923 – 2012, USA) was an American painter associated with Abstract Expressionism. Jenkins moved to New York in 1948 and attended the Art Students League, where he met Mark Rothko, Jean Dubuffet, Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning, and was inspired by the “cataclysmic challenge of Pollock and the total metaphysical consumption of Mark Tobey”.

Jenkins’ paintings have come to represent the spirit, vitality, and invention of post-World War II American abstraction. Employing an unorthodox approach to paint application, he used the process of controlled paint-pouring and canvas manipulation, as with the gem-like veils of transparent and translucent colours, which are characteristics of his work since the late 1950s. Jenkins’s innovative practice was characterized by his choice to avoid the paintbrush altogether, instead allowing pigment to pool, bloom, or roll across the surface of his canvases, guiding the paint with a knife to create fluid fields of colour. The artist’s intuitive, chance-based painting techniques helped pioneer new approaches to Abstract Expressionism.

Jenkins worked at a ceramics factory in his youth, an experience that heavily influenced his tactile methods of painting. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Art Students League in New York with Yasuo Kuniyoshi. In addition, from the 1960s on, all his paintings’ titles began with the word Phenomena. Jenkins travelled throughout Europe, including Sicily, Spain and France, which would become a second home to the artist throughout his life.

Selected Exhibitions

Tampa Museum of Art, USA; CIAC, Italy; Ronchini, UK; Redfern Gallery, UK; Abbaye de Silvacane, France; Oeuvres Majeures, Palais des Beaux-Arts, France; Abbot Hall Art Gallery, UK; UB Anderson Gallery, USA; The Butler Institute of American Art, USA; Robert Miller Gallery, USA; Museo di Pittura Murale, Italy; Palazzo Pacchiani, Italy; Centre d’Art Contemporain, France; Galleria Open Art, Italy; Robert Green Fine Arts, USA; Gana Gallery, South Korea; Musée d’Art Contemporain, France; Galerie Karl Flinker, France and Switzerland; Retrospective, San Francisco Museum of Art, USA; Martha Jackson Gallery, USA; Tokyo Gallery, Japan; Galerie Moos, Canada; Galleria Odyssia, Italy; Galerie Stadler, France; Zimmergalerie Franck, Germany

Selected Collections

Tate Modern, UK; Victoria and Albert Museum, UK; Stedelijk Museum, Netherlands; Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan; National Museum of Art, Japan; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel; MoMA, USA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, USA; Whitney Museum of American Art, USA; National Gallery of Art, USA; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Canada; Centre Pompidou, France.

Selected Publications
Paul Jenkins: On the Rim of Time, Prato: Galleria Open Art, 2010; Olsen, Sandra H., Paul Jenkins in the 1960s and 1970s: Space Color and Light, New York: D. Wigmore Fine Art, 2009; Paul Jenkins: Inner Cosmologies, Prato: Galleria Open Art, 2005; Elsen, Albert E., Paul Jenkins, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1973.


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