It’s Day 187 and I’m still busy busy! Please join me in celebrating Jack Youngerman today. 🙂
Jack Youngerman is an artist known for his constructions and paintings.
Jack Youngerman, was born 1926, St. Louis, MO, moved in Louisville, KY in 1929. He studied art at the University of North Carolina from 1944 to 1946 under a wartime navy training program, and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1947.
Biography above is from wikipedia.
Below is an article from NYtimes.com.
By JOHN RUSSELL
Published: March 7, 1986
JACK YOUNGERMAN will be 60 years old this month. Whether coincidentally or not,
the Guggenheim Museum is marking the occasion with a retrospective of his paintings and sculptures that can be seen through April 27. For much of its length it makes a brave, brisk show, full of forthright contrasts of color that swing to and fro like bells in a belfry and forked, explosive, somersaulting imagery that never quite turns representational.
It is worth recalling that not long after his 21st birthday, Youngerman left his native Missouri, at a time when every art school in New York was full, went to Paris on a G.I. scholarship and enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He stayed on in Paris for almost 10 years, married the actress Delphine Seyrig – ever to be remembered for her performance in ”Last Year in Marienbad” – and thereby became the son-in-law of Henri Seyrig, the scholar, connoisseur, archeologist and diplomat who later became director of the Musees de France.
In this way he became integrated into French life to a degree not common among young Americans in Paris. He made sets and costumes for Madeleine Renaud and Jean-Louis Barrault, got a toehold in the Galerie Maeght – a bastion at that time of the big safe name – and saw the Lascaux caves not long after they were opened. At a time when both Brancusi and Arp were still accessible in Paris, he went to see them, and he also came to know American artists there, both senior (Alexander Calder) and junior (Ellsworth Kelly). When his father-in-law was head of the French archeological institute in Beirut, Youngerman got to travel in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey. If anyone made the most of the G.I. Bill, it was he.
Even though the earlier works in the present show date from after Youngerman’s return to this country in the winter of 1956-57, survivors of
the late 1940’s and 1950’s in Paris will recognize some Parisian pawmarks in them. (The right pawmarks, let me add, with Matisse, Arp and Kandinsky as conductors of energy.) The impact of those artists in that city at that time can never be forgotten. By 1954 he was at work on the freely rendered but often strongly emotional imagery and the reversible figure-ground, positive-negative compositional schemes that were to serve him well for many years.
But in the summer of 1956 he was told by Betty Parsons, then in the early days of her New York gallery, that it was time he came home and checked out what was going on in New York. For all her fragile appearance and delicate, whispery manner of speech, Miss Parsons was a formidable persuader, and Youngerman did as she had suggested.
New York released in him a readiness to push his ideas as far as they would go and on what came to be called an American scale. There remained, however, echoes of European modernism. (Youngerman’s ”Throne,” of 1961, at the Guggenheim has, for instance, overtones of Braque’s postwar painting of a bird on its nest.) But in the winter of 1959-60, Dorothy Miller included Youngerman, together with Johns, Kelly, Rauschenberg and Stella, in the group show of ”Sixteen Americans” at the Museum of Modern Art that was one of the key events in the recognition of a new kind of New York painting.
Youngerman painted big and free at that time, but he also painted light and fast, never bogging down. His forms, though meant to be free of
objective reference, bore involuntary intimations of claw form, diving bird form, exploding blossom form and the grand frontal vegetable forms that early American modernists had drawn upon. Some of the canvases, ”Blue-White-Red” (1965) and ”March White” (1970), were huge, open, light-filled. Others, like ”Bahia” (1967), had a closed, systemic look.
The Arp who had made unprecedented reliefs many years earlier was still there, in those paintings, and it was a natural development that Youngerman should turn in 1970 to making freestanding sculptures in laminated fiberglass and resin and in 1972 to making reliefs with oil paint, epoxy resin, polystyrene and fiberglass. In sculpture, he could explore formal ambiguities akin to those explored by Arp, but with a folded-in-and-out quality that was his own. In reliefs, he could call upon weight, density and a forthright singing color to preoccupations that often took a form peculiar to himself.
A favorite in 1981-82 was, for instance, a form that could be read as a shell, an ear or a decorated
question mark. There was in 1980 a relief called ”Dive” that comes as near to the representation of a bird in flight as Youngerman has ever cared to go. There was also a steel relief in 1981 called ”Hokusai’s Wave” that spoke loud and clear for his interest in Far Eastern art.
All these spoke for a nimble and well-stocked mind, but when seen in succession at the Guggenheim, the paintings, the reliefs and the sculptures do not cohere very well. There is a genuine artist at work, and a genuine human being, and an animated, questing presence. A 30-year period in the history of art is evoked in an honorable way. If the gasp of astonishment and the stopped heartbeat do not present themselves, it is perhaps because there is a difference between good art and indispensable art, and Jack Youngerman’s falls into the former category. Also of interest this week: William Turnbull (Terry Dintenfass Gallery, 50 West 57th Street): Like Jack Youngerman, William Turnbull is old enough to have lived in Paris as a young artist in the late 1940’s. He is also old enough to have witnessed, when back in England, the very first impact of the New York School. He has an open, vigorous, all-or-nothing temperament, alike as sculptor and as painter, that has left him open to new experience and new ideas at an age when many artists settle for lucrative replication. And when he gets a new idea, he works his way through it with both sensitivity and persistence.
I hope you enjoy my tribute today! I enjoyed painting this piece. I will see you tomorrow on Day 188! Best, Linda