It’s Day 61 and I’ve been busy setting up my new little art space down in our large laundry room. So I got to enjoy my new washer and dryer and paint in my new space today. Still needs tons of work and some new work tables/surfaces/shelves etc. but one thing at a time. 🙂 Join me in celebrating Bradley Walker Tomlin today.
Bradley Walker Tomlin (August 19, 1899 – May 11, 1953) belonged to the generation of New York School Abstract Expressionist artists. He participated in the famous ‘’Ninth Street Show.’’ According to John I. H. Baur, Curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Tomlin’s life and his work were marked by a persistent, restless striving toward perfection, in a truly classical sense of the word, towards that “inner logic” of form which would produce a total harmony, an unalterable rightness, a sense of miraculous completion…It was only during the last five years of his life that the goal was fully reached, and his art flowered with a sure strength and authority.
Tomlin returned to New York in the fall of 1924. He began exhibiting in 1925 at the Whitney
Studio Club. In 1926 Tomlin returned to Europe, where he visited England, Italy and Switzerland but he mainly stayed in Paris. He returned to America in July, 1927. He also discovered Woodstock, New York where he spent his summers.
SOURCE: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
American painter. He studied sculpture modelling in the studio of Hugo Gari Wagner from 1913 and painting from 1917 to 1921 at Syracuse University. After graduation he moved to New York and began to work as a commercial illustrator, with many commissions from Condé Nast publications. Tomlin visited France for the first time in 1923 and spent a few months studying in Paris at both the Académie Colarossi and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He remained a freelance illustrator until 1929. In 1925 he spent the first of many summers in the emerging colony of Woodstock, NY. Early paintings, such as Young Girl (1925; Newark, NJ, Mus.) or the slightly later Self-portrait (1932; New York, Whitney), emotionally evocative yet sentimental, soon gave way to a more stylized format.
Tomlin was impressed by the 1936–7 exhibition, Fantastic Art: Dada and Surrealism, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York,
and returned to it repeatedly. He was both attracted and repelled but found most other art dull and uninteresting after seeing such work. The paintings he produced during World War II, such asThe Goblet (1940; Washington, DC, Phillips Col.) and Burial (1943; New York, Met.), make occasional use of Surrealist-inspired combinations within a decorative late Cubist idiom.
He was a founder-member of the American Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, an organization dedicated not only to modernism but also to the eradication of artistic nationalism. Other members included Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko and Balcomb Greene (b 1904). From the early 1930s he began to share studios with fellow artists, firstly with James Brooks, in Woodstock, and lastly with Robert Motherwell in New York from 1948 to 1949. He also began his teaching career at the Buckley School from 1932 to 1933, before transferring to Sarah Lawrence College (1933–41), both in New York.
Tomlin’s mature work can be said to date from c. 1947, when his already abstract works ceased to show a direct debt to either Surrealism or Cubism. The use of dots, crosses and other symbols derived from the Surrealist interest in and use of universal images, but, like Gottlieb, Tomlin spread his thickly applied shapes over the entire canvas in a new and more painterly way, as in Number 3 (1948; New York, MOMA) and Number 11 (1949; Utica, NY, Munson–Williams–Proctor Inst.). Although highly textured and richly painted, Tomlin’s paintings were more lyrical and less gestural than those of Pollock or de Kooning. They relate more to the work of Philip Guston, Ad Reinhardt and such painters of the ‘second generation’ of Abstract Expressionists as Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler and Milton Resnick (b 1917).
Clement Greenberg identified 1948 as the year that Tomlin and Guston joined
the Abstract Expressionists, and Tomlin quickly became a recognized leader of the group. In 1952 a substantial selection of his recent paintings was exhibited in 15 Americans at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Such paintings as Number 9: In Praise of Gertrude Stein (1.24×2.59 m, 1950; New York, MOMA) show how his last and by this stage very large canvases were filled with a more uniform and overall pattern of calligraphic brushstrokes than had been the case just two or three years earlier. Because of the changes evident in the paintings of his last years, it is difficult to assign him a firm place in the history of Abstract Expressionism, but he remains one of the pioneers of the lyrical branch of the movement of the mid-20th century.
David M. Sokol
From Grove Art Online
First biography excerpt from wikipedia.
Second half from moma.org.
This painting was a very interesting experience. I painted the background first and then did
the details with black and white afterwards. I still feel like I could’ve done more with this piece. It’s another example of a piece that I would like to try on a larger canvas.
I hope you enjoy my piece and I’ll see you tomorrow on day 62! Best, Linda