Margaret Tomkins "Untitled" - C. 1960
Oil on canvas67.5” x 67” Unframed
Margaret Tomkins was one of the leading painters of the Pacific Northwest. She became popular with her Surrealist works of the 1940’s, earning her numerous national and regional awards. In the 1950’s and 60’s, her work evolved into an abstract expressionist style, which she continued pursuing for the remainder of her career.
Tomkins was born in Los Angeles, California and attended the University of Southern California where she received both her B.F.A. and M.F.A. Her first important national exhibition was at the 1939 New York World's Fair, American Art Today, where she exhibited a landscape in watercolor while still a resident of California.
Upon her relocation to Seattle, Washington in 1939, she became Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Washington for a brief period of time. In 1940, she married Seattle artist James H. FitzGerald (1910-1973) who would also become a leading painter and sculptor in the Northwest. In 1941, she had her first solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. In addition to their paintings, Tomkins and FitzGerald were also involved as craftsmen and sculptors, working in ceramics and furniture design. Their Modernist ceramics were mostly utilitarian objects such as bowls, vessels and lamps, but created in a highly imaginative and unique manner.
Tomkins has shown at the Carnegie Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Seattle Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, and numerous others. Her work is in the Permanent Collection of the Seattle Art Museum, The Norah Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, Utah, The Northwest Museum of Art & Culture, Spokane, WA., and the Tacoma Art Museum.
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