Allen Tucker (1866-1939)

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Spanierman Gallery, NYC

Allen Tucker was an architect, poet, author, teacher, lecturer and painter of Post-Impressionist landscapes and figure works. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1866. In 1888, he graduated as an architect from the School of Mines of Columbia University with a Bachelor of Philosophy Degree and, soon after, began work as a draftsman under Richard Morris Hunt.

His long association with the Art Students League began in 1890 as a student in John Henry Twachtman's Preparatory Antique Class; he was an elected member of the League in 1893, the Men's Vice President in 1894, a Life Member beginning in 1903 and an Honorary Member starting in 1924.

Allen Tucker - Woman in a Garden, ca. 1919-20
Oil on canvas, 50 3/4 x 39 3/4 inches

Between 1895 and 1904, he was a partner in the architectural firm of McIlvaine and Tucker but resigned in the latter year to paint full time. In 1908, he exhibited with Robert Henri, George Luks, John Sloan, George Bellows and others at the Whitney Studio Gallery (later the Whitney Studio Club) and, subsequently, was an unpaid advisor to Juliana Force, its first Director. Artistically and personally close to the more progressive wing of The Eight, he took an active part in organizing the first exhibit of the Independents (1910). Tucker was one of the founders of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and was responsible for the catalog of its major effort, the Armory Show of 1913. Six of his works were included in that show and a landscape, Mount Aberdeen, was reproduced for the announcement post card.

During World War I, Tucker joined the American Ambulance Field Service in France prior to the United States' entry into the war and later served in an American Red Cross hospital there. His war memories were the inspiration for many themes in his poetry and painting.

In 1917, the artist was represented in the Inaugural Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists and in subsequent Society shows. His first comprehensive one-man exhibit was at the Whitney Studio Club (1918) followed by the publication of his first volume of poems, There and Here, the following year. Between 1921 and 1926, Tucker was an instructor in the Art Students League's Portrait and Composition class, one of the most popular with League students. He led these same students in Saturday gallery tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There followed one-man shows at the Montross Gallery (1902), Durand-Ruel Galleries (1923), Syracuse Museum of Art (1924), Art Students League (1924), Montross (1924), Whitney Studio Club (1925), Rehn Galleries (1926,1928,1929,1930), Century Association (1931), and Rehn (1932,1933,1936).

In 1930, a series of Tucker's lectures were published under the title, Design and the Idea, and soon after, the Whitney Museum published a monograph on the artist in its American Artists Series (1931). In the same year, Tucker wrote the essay on his former teacher, John Twachtman, for this series.

Allen Tucker's paintings are represented in the collections of the following museums and institutions: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Yale University Art Collection, the Dayton Art Institute, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Chicago Art Institute, the Art Students League of New York and the Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington, D.C.


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