“Jenkins has contributed significantly to the definition of the notion of space which today governs a vast sector of contemporary painting.” Pierre Restany
Having studied four years at the historic Art Students League during which years he met Jackson Pollock & Lee Krasner, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, Paul Jenkins is a major artistic figure associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement.
Starting in 1956, he was one of the major artists to be exhibited at the famous Martha Jackson Gallery in New York.
“Jenkins is obstinately attached to the fundamental dynamic, an attitude that could be described as a refusal of the static in all its states.” Pierre Restany
Using the technique of “controlled paint-pouring” with which the artist pours colour directly onto the support, Paul Jenkins integrates perfectly into the Action Painting movement of the Post-War period, between spontaneity and mastery of the artistic gesture.
Nourished by the complementary contributions of the art scenes of New York and Paris where he met Georges Mathieu and Pierre Soulages, he was also influenced by the masters of colour: Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin and Vassily Kandinsky, as well as Mark Rothko.
“Jenkins’ colour range ignores all censure in the visual: his palette ventures well beyond the conventional limits in the upper reaches of the spectrum.” Pierre Restany
In the 1950s, oils on canvas covered in matter like a potter’s glaze : recalling his time in his early years working with a ceramist in Kansas City, Missouri, his work evolved naturally towards the affirmation of colour, in particular from 1962 with the new use of acrylics. This resulted in refined liquid forms, whichstands out from white backgrounds, these Phenomena… inspired by Goethe’s colour theories.
“Jenkins is one of the great religious or better, spiritual painters of our century.” Paul Veyne
Like Sam Francis, Mark Tobey, and the other artists of the New York School, Paul Jenkins was especially influenced by the theories of Jung in the 1950s, as well as by Oriental religions and philosophies, infusing his entire output with a mystical and spiritual character.
He often travelled to Asia, especially to Japan where he worked with Jiro Yoshihara and the Gutai.
Major museum collections
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts
Buffalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery
London, Tate Gallery
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Montreal, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal
New York, Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art
Osaka, National Museum of Art
Paris, Musée national d’Art Moderne Centre Georges-Pompidou
San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Art
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art
Vienna, Albertina Museum
Washington,D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C., Smithsonian American Art Museum
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art
Nature in Abstraction, traveling exhibition: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York / The Phillips Gallery, Washington, D.C. / Fort Worth Art Center, Fort Worth / Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles / San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco / Walker Art Center, Minneapolis / City Art Museum, St. Louis, 1958
Abstract Expressionists and Imagists, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1961
Paul Jenkins, retrospective, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1971
Paul Jenkins, retrospective, San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, 1972
Abstract Expressionism, Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, 1972
Paul Jenkins, Œuvres 1953-1986, Musée Picasso, Antibes, 1987
Paul Jenkins, œuvres majeures, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, 2005
Paul Jenkins, Galerie Diane de Polignac, 2014 (Paul Jenkins exhibition catalogue published)