Bradley Walker Tomlin

Bradley Walker Tomlin

Tomlin, Bradley Walker, 1899-1953, American painter, b. Syracuse, N.Y., grad. Syracuse Univ. (1921). He also studied painting in London and Paris. His early work includes cover designs for Vogue and House and Garden magazines. In the 1930s and 1940s he developed consistently toward abstraction. His late, entirely abstract, works are mosaics of ribbonlike, calligraphic strokes. Among his paintings in museums are Still Life (Whitney Mus. of American Art, New York City), Number 20, 1949 (Mus. of Modern Art, New York City), and Number 10, 1952-53 (Munson-Williams-Proctor Inst., Utica, N.Y.).

See study by J. Baur (1957).

Bradley Walker Tomlin (1899 – 1955) belonged to the early generation of New York School Abstract Expressionist artists. He participated in the famous ‘’Ninth Street Show.’’ According to John I. H. Baur, Curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Tomlin’s life and his work were marked by a persistent, restless striving toward perfection, in a truly classical sense of the word, towards that “inner logic” of form which would produce a total harmony, an unalterable rightness, a sense of miraculous completion…It was only during the last five years of his life that the goal was fully reached, and his art flowered with a sure strength and authority.


Born in Syracuse, New York, on August 19, 1899, Tomlin was the youngest of four children. Since his high school days he wanted to be an artist.

His art teachers were:

Tomlin studied:

  • 1917 - 1921: Syracuse University - College of Fine Arts, New York under Dr. Jeannette Scott and Professor Carl T. Hawley
  • 1923 – 1924: Acadѐmie Colarossi and the Grande Chaumiѐre, Paris, France

Tomlin returned to New York in the fall of 1924. He began exhibiting in 1925 at the Whitney Studio Club. In 1926 Tomlin returned to Europe, where he visited England, Italy and Switzerland but he mainly stayed in Paris. He returned to America in July, 1927. He also discovered Woodstock, New York where he spent his summers.

During the depression Tomlin sought teaching positions:

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 1922: Skaneatele and Cazenovia, NY (watercolors)
  • 1925: Anderson Galleries, NY (watercolors)
  • 1926, 1927: Montross Gallery, NY
  • 1931, 1944: Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries, NY
  • 1950, 1953: Betty Parsons Gallery, NY
  • 1955: Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington, D.C.
  • 1957: “Bradley Walker Tomlin,” circ. Exhibition organized by the Art Galleries of the University of California, Los Angeles, in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art’’

Selected Group Exhibitions

“On Sunday, May 10, 1953, Tomlin drove with his friends to a party at the Jackson Pollocks’ house on Long Island, from which he returned about midnight, feeling ill.” The following day, May 11, he was admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital where he suffered a heart attack and died at seven that night.

Bradley Walker Tomlin died at the age of fifty-three.


Smithsonian Institution Research Information System; Archival, Manuscript and Photographic Collections, Bradley Walker Tomlin


See also

External link for image reproduction

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