George Tooker (1920 - 2011)
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Raised in Brooklyn Heights and Bellport, New York, George Tooker was a figurative painter who is often associated with the Magic realism and Social realism movements. While he attended Harvard University as an English literature major, he still devoted much of his time to painting. In 1942, Tooker entered the Marine Corps, but was soon discharged due to his ill health. In 1943, he attended the Art Students League of New York where he studied alongside other artists, such as Kenneth Hayes Miller and Reginald Marsh. His paintings addressed modern-day issues of alienation through his visual depictions of social withdrawal and isolation. His two most best-known paintings, Subway (1950) and Government Bureau(1956) both convey these issues. Tooker worked primarily with the then-revitalized tradition of egg tempera. In 1968, he was elected to the National Academy of Design and was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1968. His work has been shown in the "Fourteen Americans" show at the Museum of Modern Art as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art, amongst other major museums.