George Clair Tooker, Jr. (August 5, 1920 – March 27, 2011) was an American figurative painter whose works are associated with the Magic realism and Social realism movements. He was one of nine recipients of the National Medal of Arts in 2007.
In 1943, Tooker began attending at the Art Students League of New York where he studied with Reginald Marsh and Kenneth Hayes Miller. Early in his career, Tooker’s work was often compared with painters such as Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, and his close friends Jared French and Paul Cadmus. His work was included in the “Fourteen Americans” show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946, and was also shown in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and other major museums.
Working with the then-revitalized tradition of egg tempera, Tooker addressed issues of modern-day alienation with subtly eerie and often visually literal depictions of social withdrawal and isolation. The Subway (1950 – above) and Government Bureau (1956) are two of his best-known paintings.