“A fine juicy painter who has for many years retained his figurative approach through movements thick and thin. Throughout, his skill as a vivid colorist and paint-handler prevails.”
Grace Gluck, NY Times
A member of the second generation of the New York School, Paul Georges took elements from Abstract Expressionism—such as the physical immediacy of the paint—and applied them to the more traditional field of figurative painting. One of Georges's artistic quests has been to reach a style of figurative representation that is "completely natural yet also timeless."
Georges follows in the Western tradition of monumental figure painting yet maintains a wholly unique, personal, and highly independent feeling in his works. In a recent review, Grace Glueck, NY Times art critic writes of this Portland Oregon native, “A fine juicy painter who has for many years retained his figurative approach through movements thick and thin. Throughout, his skill as a vivid colorist and paint-handler prevails.”
Stanley Grand, Art Historian, University of Wisconsin writes, “Georges constantly provokes by confusing our expectations. With Duchampian irony, he strips classical themes of false gravity. His ambitious, freewheeling frequently bombastic, robust manner makes his paintings difficult and at times perverse. His position toward the tradition remains ambiguous and contradictory. George’s painting consists of many layers engaged in a never ending struggle and not always polite dialogue.
Georges uses color itself to create pictorial space. Cadmium red advances while the green recedes. Georges’ color, freed of purely descriptive ends, demonstrates and reinforces his link to his former teachers: Hans Hofmann and Fernand Leger. Unlike more traditional artists who develop the composition fully in preliminary drawings and oil sketches, Georges paints wet into wet in the Venetian manner allowing drips and other happy accidents abound. He is as content to paint everyday views, perhaps from his garden as he is to invoke mythology for the simple joy of moving paint about the canvas.”
Born in 1923 to a Russian Jewish mother and Greek father in Portland, Oregon, he attended the Sunday Hebrew school and worked in his father's laundry business. He went to the University of Oregon in Eugene, and in 1947, was in Provincetown in the summer of 1947 studying with Hans Hofmann and meeting Jane Freilicher, Paul Resika, and Larry Rivers.
In 1949, he went to Paris where he studied with Fernand Leger whose circus performer paintings became a source of inspiration for Georges's later genre paintings. He met his wife Lisette, whom he married in England in 1950, and in 1952, the couple returned to New York, and his style swung between abstraction and explicit figurative painting.
During the 1960s, he was very much outside the mainstream of New York painting, although he was in several of the Whitney Biennials. From that time, his work has been a mix of a highly personal style that embraces surrealism, realism, and abstraction and a variety of themes including allegory and religion.
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View synoptic biography below.
BORN: Portland OR, 1923
STUDIED: University of Chicago; Hans Hofmann, Provincetown MA; Fernand Leger, Paris France.
Reed College, Portland OR 1948, 1956, 1961
Tibor De Nagy Gallery, New York NY 1955, 1957
Virginia Zabriskie Gallery, New York NY 1959
Great Jones Gallery, New York 1960, 1961
Allan Frumkin Gallery, Chicago IL 1962, 1963
Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York NY 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968
Dorsky Gallery, New York NY 1968, 1969
Green Mountain Gallery, New York NY 1975
Tomasulo Gallery, N Illinois University, NJ 1979
Meghan Williams Gallery, Los Angeles 1979
Swen Parson Gallery, N Illinois University, Dekalb, IL 1980
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham MA 1981
Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago 1982
College of the Mainland, Texas City TX 1983
The More Gallery, Philadelphia PA 1983, 1985, 1991
Manhattan Art, New York NY 1984
William Crapo Gallery, Swain School, New Bedford MA 1985
Mead Art Museum, Amherst MA 1985
Anne Plumb Gallery, New York 1986, 1988, 1991
Greenville County Museum of Art, SC 1989
Vered Gallery, East Hampton NY 1989, 1994, 1996
Fifth International Hallmark Purchase Award
Longview Foundation Fellowship/Purchase Award
Carol H Beck Gold Medal, Pennsylvania Academy
Neysa McMein Purchase Award, Whitney Museum of American Art
CAPS Grant, New York State
Ranger Purchase Award, National Academy of Design
American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Painting Award
Selected Public Collections
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