James Brooks (painter)

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James Brooks
File:Archives of American Art - James Brooks - 2001 CROPPED.jpg
Brooks working on a mural, 1940
Born (1906-10-18)October 18, 1906
St. Louis, Mo.
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Brookhaven, New York
Nationality American
Known for Painting, Muralism
Movement Abstract Expressionism, Action painting, Lyrical Abstraction

James Brooks (October 18, 1906 – March 9, 1992) was an American muralist, abstract painter, and winner of the Logan Medal of the Arts.

Life and career

Brooks was a friend of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner on Eastern Long Island. In 1947 he married artist Charlotte Park. Considered a first generation abstract expressionist painter, Brooks was among the first abstract expressionists to use staining as an important technique. According to art critic Carter Ratcliff,[1] "His concern has always been to create painterly accidents of the kind that allow buried personal meanings to take on visibility." In his paintings from the late 1940s Brooks began to dilute his oil paint in order to stain the mostly raw canvas. These works often combined calligraphy and abstract shapes.

Brooks had his first one-man exhibition of his abstract expressionist paintings in 1949 at the Peridot Gallery in New York. The Courtauld Institute of Art (London), the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, Texas), the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), the Harvard University Art Museums, the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art (Indianapolis, Indiana), the Sheldon Art Gallery (Lincoln, Nebraska), the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington D.C.), the Tate Gallery (London) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota) are among the public collections holding work by James Brooks. His works were also exhibited by galleries including the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York City, the Peridot Gallery in New York, and Washburn Gallery in New York.[2][3][4]


  • 1923–1926: Southern Methodist University; Dallas Art Institute and with Martha Simkins.
  • 1927–1930: The Art Students League of New York, New York City; night classes with Kimon Nicolaides and Boardman Robinson.

Brooks worked as a commercial letterer and display artist to support himself.

Participated in the Federal Art Project (WPA)

1936–1942 Brooks executed murals: Queens Public Library (since demolished), New York; Marine Air Terminal, La Guardia Airport, Flight (restored 1980), NY and Post Office, Little Falls, New Jersey.

Teaching positions

See also


  1. Art International, February 1973. pp 38–39
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Smithsonian Institution Research Information System; Archival, Manuscript and Photographic Collections, James Brooks


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External links