Paul Jenkins, Phenomena Brave Pilgrim, 1976, Watercolor On Paper, 30" x 22",
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Kansas City, Missouri native Paul Jenkins (1923-2012) studied at the Art Students League under Yasuo Kuniyoshi. During this time in New York, Jenkins became friends with Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner and Barnett Newman. After working in Europe Jenkins returned to New York, where, in 1956 he had a solo show with the legendary Martha Jackson Gallery, where he continued to show for a number of years.
In 1958 he met the painter Jiro Yoshihara at the Gutai exhibition at the Martha Jackson Gallery and was invited to travel to Japan and work with the group. The gestural abstraction of this avant-garde movement would have a profound impact on his development. It would also lead to his amassing a significant collection of work by the Gutai artists.
In the 60s his work evolved into what became a signature style. Unlike a number of abstract painters at the time, his work was more focused on color theory than experimentation with materials.
The immediacy and transparency of watercolor forms an important part of his oeuvre and in 1972 the Corcoran Gallery organized a two-year travelling show, Paul Jenkins: Works on Paper that featured his explorations into the medium. Watercolor would continue to be a major focus in his work throughout his career.
In 1971-72 Jenkins was the subject of a major retrospective that travelled to the Houston Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Jenkins’ work can be found in myriad museum collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Stedelijk, the Walker Art Center, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.