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

Ronchini Gallery, London (2022); The Redfern Gallery, London (2020); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2019); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte, Reina Sofía, Madrid (2018); Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (2017); Robert Miller Gallery, New York, USA (2014); Museo di Pittura Murale, Prato, Italy (2014); The San Jose Museum of Art, California (2012); The Redfern Gallery, London (2011); Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento (2010); D. Wigmore Fine Art, New York (2009);Museum of Art & Gardens, Jacksonville (2009); Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. (2009).

Selected Collections

MoMA, New York;  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Tate Modern, London; and Centre Pompidou, Paris.


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