Paul Jenkins sitting in front of 'Katherine Wheel' at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford Village, New York, 1979
Gift of Kenneth Tyler 2002
Photographer: Lindsay GREEN

Paul Jenkins came to prominence in the 1950s as a member of the Abstract Expressionist movement. He was born in Kansas City in 1923 and studied at the Kansas City Art Institute before enlisting in the Naval Air Corps during World War II. After the war he moved to New York, where he studied at the Art Students League. Jenkins’s paintings are concerned with the application of colour.

He perfected the process of pouring paint to achieve the luminous fields of colour that characterise his paintings. Emissary, an etching and aquatint created in 1980 at Tyler Graphics Ltd, is a work typical of Jenkins.
Emilie Owens

Further reading


Born in Kansas City, Missouri, United States of America

Studies at Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri; serves as apprentice in ceramic factory with James Weldon

Serves in United States Naval Air Corps as pharmacist’s mate

Under GI Bill scheme studies at Art Students League, New York under Morris Kantor and Yasuo Kuniyoshi

Travels to Italy, Spain and England before settling in Paris, France

First solo exhibition, Studio Paul Facchetti, Paris

Solo exhibition, Zoe Dusanne Gallery, Seattle

Returns to New York; solo exhibition, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York; co-edits, Observations (New York: George Wittenborn)

Included in exhibition, Annual exhibition, Whitney Museum of Art, New York and again in 1963, 1965; included in Carnegie international, Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Pittsburgh and again in 1967

Solo exhibition, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, West Germany

Travels to Spain

Co producer of film, The ivory knife: Paul Jenkins, which is shown at Museum of Modern Art, New York and receives Golden Eagle Award at Venice Film Festival Travels to USSR Publishes play, Strike the Puma (Paris: Èditions Gonthier, 1966)

Receives silver medal for painting at the Biennial exhibition, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.  Strike the Puma produced off-Broadway, New York

Travelling solo exhibition, originating at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Texas

Solo exhibition, Paul Jenkins: works on paper, originating at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; solo exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Art, California

Solo exhibition, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi, Belgium

Completes lithograph, Phenomena Franklin’s Kite, Imprimerie Mourlot, Paris, published by Transworld Art Corporation, New York

Included in exhibitions, American postwar painting, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Quelques Americains en Paris, Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris

Completes monoprint editions and intaglio prints at Tyler Graphics Ltd, Bedford Village, New York comprising Katherine Wheel, Four Winds (I), East Winds (II), West Winds (III), Emissary, Himalayan Hourglass, Over the Cusp

Receives Officier des Arts et Lettres from Republic of France

Solo exhibition, Palm Springs Desert Museum, California

Invited by Jack Lang, French Minister of Culture, to participate in colloquium Culture in Crisis at the Sorbonne, Paris

Solo exhibition, MR Galleria d’Arte Contemporaneo, Rome, ItalyWrites theatrical production, Shaman to the Prism Seen, presented by the Paris Opera in 1987

Solo exhibition, Musée Picasso, Antibes

Commissioned to create and paint a silk decor for a performance at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China

Travelling solo exhibition, L’Eau et la Couleur, throughout France

Solo exhibition, The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown Receives Life Achievement Award, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown; the medal of the City of Paris, from the French Cultural Counsellor of New York

Included in exhibition, Masters of Color and Light: Homer, Sargent and the American watercolour movement, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Three Americans: Sam Francis, Paul Jenkins, Mark Tobey, Galerie Wazzau, Davos, Switzerland

Solo exhibition, Hofstra Museum, Hampstead, New York

Solo exhibitions, The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown; Viaggio in Italia, Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza; Broken silences, Vero Beach Museum of Art, FloridaReceives Benjamin Clinedinst Medal from the Artists’ Fellowship, New York

Solo exhibitions, Redfern Gallery, London; Palais des Beaux-Arts, LillePaul Jenkins currently lives and works in New York and Paris

Paul Jenkins died in New York.

Barbara Delano © Tyler Graphics Ltd., revised Kate Buckingham, 2007
This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated January 2017