Artwork Title: The Subway - Artist Name: George Tooker

The Subway

George Tooker, 1950

Using the Renaissance technique of painting with egg tempera, George Tooker constructed meticulously wrought figurative scenes filled with mysterious imagery. The Subway depicts the anxiety and alienation typically associated with the pressures of modern urban life. The low ceilings and unsettling triple perspective invoke the claustrophobia of the city’s maze-like underbelly. This psychological portrait of public life illustrates Tooker’s oblique engagement with Surrealism: “I am after painting reality impressed on the mind so hard that it returns as a dream,” he remarked, “but I am not after painting dreams as such, or fantasy.” (

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