George McNeil

American, 1908 - 1995

Artist's website


George J. McNeil was born in 1908 in Queens, New York. McNeil was a vital and influential artist whose career spanned the whole of the Post-war American art era. He attended Pratt Institute and the Art Students' League, where he studied with Jan Matulka and Vaclav Vytlacil. From 1933-37 he studied with Hans Hofmann, becoming Hofmann's monitor. He worked for the W.P.A. Federal Art Project and in 1936 he became one of the founding members of the American Abstract Artists group; at the New York World's Fair in 1939, he was one of the few abstract artists whose work was selected. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy.


From 1932 to 1936, McNeil studied with Hans Hoffman where he got, "the big ideas about space" so that "…he would never have to think about the spatial problem…." Influences also came from Jan Matulka's classes where McNeil learned about structure and solidarity in painting. Despite the changing trend in art, George McNeil remained steadfast in his exploration and expression of feeling. His paintings are clamorous, luxuriant, colorful, audacious, and dauntless. Figures vibrate across the canvas: bold patterns of disjunctive color, drifts of paint, and graffiti.


The artist's work is included in numerous museum collections around the country, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, the Whitney Museum, NY, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Walker Art Center, MN, amongst many others.


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