Paul Jenkins 1923–2012

Born William Paul Jenkins in 1923, the self-described “abstract phenomenist,” became well-known for his post-war abstract expressionist paintings and association with the New York School. Raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Jenkins apprenticed in a ceramics factory and later studied at the Kansas City Art Institute from 1938 to 1941. After moving to New York, he began studying under Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the Art Students League where he met and befriended Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jean Dubuffet, and Willem de Kooning. After his first solo-exhibition in Seattle in 1954, his work became exhibited worldwide.

Jenkins is recognized for his highly physical technique of paint-pouring directly onto the canvas and utilization of non-traditional tools including a knife to apply paint instead of a brush. His vivid use of color creates compositions that always seem to be in motion. Jenkins described his technique stating, “I try to paint like a crapshooter throwing dice, utilizing past experience and my knowledge of the odds. It’s a big gamble, and that’s why I love it.” His work is included in institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Norton Simon Museum in California, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Paul Jenkins died in 2012.

Auction Results Paul Jenkins