|   Statements By The Artist  | 
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Artist's Writings

Recollections of the Gutai in Osaka. Presented at the panel "Gutai: A “Concrete” Discussion of Transnationalism" at the Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Philip Pavia. Eulogy, November 29, 2005.  Read at the Philip Pavia Memorial and exhibition, White Box, New York.

Ibram Lassaw. Eulogy, January 23, 2004.  Read at the Memorial, Guild Hall, March 2004.

"Al Hirschfeld:  A State of Grace."  Linea, Journal of the Art Students League of New York, vol. 7, no. 1, 2003.

"Viaggio in Italia."  Catalogue, Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza, Viaggio in Italia, 2000 September-January 2001.  [English-Italian]

“Yoshihara and the Gutai.” Jeu de Paume, Paris, 1999.

"To Make Seen." September 15, 1997.  Catalogue, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, exhibition 1997 November-January 1998.

Thomas A. Schroth.  Eulogy, December 31, 1997.

Acceptance of honorary doctorate from Hofstra University, May 20, 1996.

"Paris, rue Decrès, October 5th, 1996." Catalogue, Lorenzelli Arte, Milan, exhibition "Cardinal Recognitions, Works 1981-1986," November 26, 1996-January 11, 1997.

"Rashomon to Mark Tobey." Letter to Mark Tobey. Exhibition catalogue, Mark Tobey—Paintings 1920-1960. Yoshii Gallery, New York.

Shaman to the Prism Moon. An allegorical tale, 1994.

Seven Aspects of Amadeus and the Others. Texts by the artist with Suzanne Donnelly Jenkins, preface by Michel Faucher. Concerning the series of original lithographs on stone created at the Atelier Franck Bordas, Paris.  Éditions Galilée, Paris, 1992.

"When the Night Makes a Form and the Form Makes a Fire."  The ceramic sculptures of André Verdet, exhibition catalogue, André Verdet Pluriel, Musées de Nice, October 1992.

"For Young Pioneers." Presented at the XXVIème Promotion de l'Institut Supérieur des Carrières Artistiques, Paris, January 1992.
"Suzuki and Darwin." Tadashi Suzuki, program of Mito, January 1992.

"A Fall from Blue Silence.”  The work of Edith De Vries, catalogue, Chateau-Musée de Dieppe, 22 juin-30 septembre 1991.  "Pilleurs d'Épaves."   Translated by Bernard Garniez as "D'un Bleu Silence Chu."

"Two Different Kinds of Light:  New York and Paris." Read at the colloquium organized by New York University, "L'Homme de l'Atlantique," “Americans Look at France—The French Look at America,” Spring 1991, New York.

"A Fire Sand and Gold." Text about working on glass sculptures in Murano with Egidio Costantini.

"Peking Prism." Project for décor of original painted silks for a performance at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 1988.

"Le Prisme du chaman" and "L'Inexplicable et l'apparente." Program for "Carte blanche à Paul Jenkins, Le Prisme du chaman," L'Opéra de Paris, Salle Favart, May 1987.
"Pour le Prisme du chaman." Dance drama conceived and written by the artist, as Shaman to the Prism Seen, translated by Paul Veyne, l'Opéra de Paris, April 1987, no. 47, pp. 8-15, ill.  Rewritten by the artist and retranslated by Paul Veyne under the title "Un Chaman pour voir un prisme," (Shaman to the Prism Seen) published in Paul Jenkins:  Prismes Brisés Le Prisme du Chaman, Éditions Galilée, Paris; Imago Terrae, New York, 1989, ill.

Anatomy of a Cloud, by the artist with Suzanne Donnelly Jenkins.  New York, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1983. ill.  Extracts translated into French by Paul Veyne, Éditions Gallimard, Paris, N.R.F., no. 387, April 1985; revised and republished, Éditions Galilée, Paris, 1985, ill.

Les Années 50:  Peintures, Sculptures, Témoignages. Paris, Éditions Arted, 1984, pp. 98-99, ill.

"Jackson Pollock:  The Arabesque and the Grid." January 1984.

“Ether Lines and Carrara Forms.”  Re Philip Pavia.  June 20, 1983, Springs.

"Tàpies' Paradox." Art World, vol. 6, no. 1, September 26 - October 17, 1981.

"D. H. Lawrence and The Man Who Died." Presented at the D. H. Lawrence Festival in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico, July 1980.

"Exhibition of Gustav Klimt Drawings." Art World, vol. 4, no. 4, December 20 -January 15, 1980.

"Jenkins on Matisse." Art World, vol. 3, no. 3, November 15 - December 13, 1978.

"The Gift of the Master."  Catalogue, Yasuo Kuniyoshi retrospective traveling in Japan.

"Jenkins Paints an Opinion." Art News, vol. 65, no. 7, November 1966, ill.

Strike the Puma. A play, Paris, Éditions Gonthier, Paris [in English] 1966.

" For Dylan Thomas."
 Read at the presentation of his donation to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff of a bust of Dylan Thomas by Ibram Lassaw and David Slivka; at the Poetry Center of the YM-YWHA at 92nd Street in New York, accepted by Richard Burton and his father, Phillip Burton, on behalf of the museum.

"Beauford Delaney:  A Quiet Legend." Art International, vol. 6, no. 10, December 20, 1962.

"Gustave Moreau:  Moot Grandfather of Abstraction." Art News, vol. 60, no. 8, December 1961, ill.

"A Reply to Purity." It Is, no. 5, Spring 1960.

"American Abstract Painting." It Is, no. 3, Winter-Spring 1959.

"Panel:  Non-American Painting." It Is, no. 3, Winter-Spring 1959.

"An Abstract Phenomenist." The Painter and Sculptor, vol. 1, no. 4, Winter 1958-59, ill. Dakota Ridge, Pawnee, Lunar Moth.

"A Cahier Leaf." It is, no. 2, Autumn 1958, ill. Phenomena Zone.

“Nature in Abstraction.”   Exhibition catalogue, "Nature in Abstraction," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, January-March 1958, ill.

Observations of Michel Tapié. Paul Jenkins edited jointly with Esther Ebenhoe Jenkins, New York, George Wittenborn, 1956.

"Museum of Modern Art Looks at You." The League, Winter 1950, pp. 10-11.

"Unknown Factors." The League, Fall 1950, pp. 5-7.

“The Kerry Flute Player.”  One-act play, c. 1946.

“Shadow White.”  One-act play, c. 1946.

“The King is Blacker than the Queen.”  One-act play, c. 1946.

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Statements By The Artist

I do not stain and I do not work on unprimed canvas. This is more significant than it may appear. Staining or working on unprimed canvas results in an inkblot-like effect where the paint penetrates the canvas and spreads out on its own. When I work on primed canvas, I can control the flow of paint and guide it to discover forms. The ivory knife is an essential tool in this because it does not gouge the canvas, it allows me to guide the paint.

from the artist's notebooks

Art is not an antidote. Art is fire. It does something final to the opposition once and for all and then goes on. The art may get lost, stolen, pre-empted, burned, caked with dust but this tree does not worry about hearing itself fall as it falls from grace...it is not concerned with permission.

Conjunctions and Annexes, Éditions Galilée, Paris, 1991

All this does not symbolize the physical world because it is not OF something, it is something unto itself....it takes on its own metaphor and meaning.

from the artist's notebooks

You enter a state of being with the paint, a language unfolds, a dialogue with paint and discovered intention in the time of the execution, not an action or acting out, but a deliberate revealing of the unspoken and the enigmatic. Painting signifies when it is unto itself and serves no master. Velasquez's king was his subject matter and the paintings came first. Whom it represented came third. Think of it another way. In Rembrandt's Night Watch, something is about to happen and is happening. You could call it a kind of war of nerves. There is the impending and the state of cause. The sense of alarm is unmistaken. When Piero della Francesca crossed lances, it was not just fine composition or a subject worthy of his attention. It was a definable fixed state of awareness involving conflict.

Conjunctions and Annexes, Éditions Galilée, Paris, 1991

The artist looks out the window. Does he see things differently? It is not so much that he is trying to be different; his existing need forces him to see differently. He must differentiate in his vision in order to make it distinctive. He has to transform what is in front of him in order for it to be seen at all. He can paint it in various ways, but it is for him to decide his way. Because once this is chosen, he must believe and not just decide that this is his direction. When he has consummated it, only then may he go on to possibly another direction to which he will again become a willing prisoner. He is a prisoner of the space within and at the same time roams the space outside his prison. That is why he sometimes makes his windows viewless so that he can conquer the space within, which is in fact another rim outside himself. The artist can own nothing except the space he moves and works in. This and this alone belongs to him. This and this alone is what he can possess.

PJ 1981 in Anatomy of a Cloud, Harry N. Abrams, NY 1983

Two kinds of light have always drawn me.  The light of Georges de La Tour, which seems to radiate from the painting and that reflected light which was most evident in Turner’s imagination.  From these two sources —reflection and radiation — I have tried to achieve a kind of form in its own discovered space, a kind of light which reveals itself from within, while the reflected element affirms itself from without.

PJ quoted by Albert E. Elsen in Paul Jenkins, Harry N. Abrams, NY 1973

The light which is seen from underneath must be within the form and work with the structure to be significant. 

From the artist’s notebooks, circa 1955, quoted by Albert E. Elsen in
Paul Jenkins, Harry N. Abrams, NY 1973



   |   Artist's Writings  |

  |   Statements By The Artist  | 

Statements About The Artist

It is, for example, of no small interest to observe that at the very time New York was being heralded as the pre-eminent center for innovation in the visual arts, at last displacing Paris and other world centers as the focus of avant-garde developments, Jenkins departed for Europe. Far from unaware of the New York scene (he was, after all, on close terms with Pollock, Rothko and other protagonists of the new abstraction), Jenkins clearly felt the need for other inspirations as well. Thus it was that he sought to deepen his familiarity with the works of such earlier giants of the modern movement as Matisse and Kandinsky, as well as their own progenitors, particularly Gauguin. But in moving to Europe for a time and in long maintaining an atelier in France, Jenkins did not abandon his native American intuitions. Rather, he straddled the Atlantic, so to speak, and like such predecessors as Whistler, Sargent and Cassatt, brought both sides of his experiences into balance. He remains at home in either environment and moves fluidly from one to the other in the best tradition of international identity. In this respect, Jenkins differs from Pollock, say, or Kline, who can hardly be described in these terms. Still, there were many reciprocities in the evolution of the modern scene. For Jenkins, however, that extension of his creative allegiances was deeply significant: he shares with Soulages as much as with Kline, or with Tàpies as well as Rothko. To put it otherwise, he finds more in common with the European heritage of painting that his compatriots have been apt to do. Indeed, that is doubtless a source of his recognition with many, and which perhaps creates uneasiness in other quarters. So be it.

Frank Anderson Trapp. Exhibition Catalogue, Paul Jenkins Broken Prisms,
Gimpel Weitzenhoffer, New York 1986

Jenkins’ images are impressive and compelling because of their source in modern awareness of motion, pluralistic perspectives and luminosities  He shares with Tobey, Rothko and Newman the conviction that modern painting can fulfill the individual’s spiritual needs, which had previously been served by artists working for the Church.
They [Jenkins’ paintings] meet our needs not for more surfaces but for space that is immeasurable but felt; movement rather than static emblems; the irrational rather than the verifiable; the spiritual as opposed to the prosaic.

Albert E. Elsen in the monograph, Paul Jenkins, Harry N. Abrams, NY 1973