Jack Youngerman born 1926 American Geometric Abstraction/ Hard Edge Painters
A resident of Bridgehampton since 1968, Jack Youngerman was originally trained as a journalist at the University of Missouri in his native St. Louis, where he had returned in 1946 after serving stateside in World War II. Making use of the G.I. Bill for further study, Youngerman proceeded to Paris in 1947, promptly enrolling himself in the École des Beaux-Arts. He was fascinated by the renowned school’s nearly perfect preservation of its nineteenth-century heritage and curriculum. By staying on in Paris for virtually the next decade—he would not return to New York for any extended period until Betty Parsons coaxed him back in 1956—Youngerman effectively skirted the advent (and triumph) of Abstract Expressionism. His best friend in Paris was Ellsworth Kelly, who enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1948, and his revered mentor was Alexander Calder. Not unlike Kelly, Youngerman in some ways proceeded forward by looking back to the 1930s; he relived the interest among New York’s abstract artists of that period—Calder among them—in the wood cutouts of Wassily Kandinsky and Hans Arp, which had transfixed a host of newcomers attempting to assimilate Cubism, Constructivism, and Surrealism during the interwar period. Youngerman was also exposed to the work of Henri Matisse, whose 1949 exhibition at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris included nearly two dozen examples of paper cutouts. This graphic, one-punch idiom made a decisive impression on Youngerman (as well as Kelly), who upon his return to New York pursued a “hard-edged” color abstraction based on highly reduced forms evoking those found in nature, the human body, and objects of everyday material reality. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Youngerman produced an important series of folding “screen paintings” influenced by his move to Long Island’s East End; a number were featured in a solo exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum in the summer of 2005. More recently Youngerman has come to focus on relief painting and sculpture. [Gregory Galligan]
Bob Colacello, Jonathan Becker. Studios By The Sea: Artists of Long Island's East End. p. 62 s1.Harry n. Abrams Inc.