Jack Roth


Jack Roth Biography

American, 1927-2004

If ever the art world could be said to have a Renaissance Man (excluding Da Vinci!) it would be Jack Roth (1927-2004), abstract expressionist painter, poet, photographer and mathematician. He received degrees in chemistry and fine art, did graduate work in mathematics, and would teach mathematics and art throughout his career.

Roth is a second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter, known for his Colorfield work. Though he was fully two decades younger than some of the elder statesmen of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Jack Roth exhibited alongside Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Philip Guston, William Baziotes and others while still in his twenties.

In 1949 he enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts where he studied painting under Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn, David Park and Elmer Bischoff. His big break came in 1954 when his work was selected by James Johnson Sweeney, Director of the Guggenheim Museum, for the traveling exhibition "Younger American Painters", alongside Baziotes, Diebenkorn, Gottlieb, Guston, Kline, de Kooning, Motherwell, Pollock and others. It was one of the first major debuts of the Abstract Expressionist movement to be shown at American museums.

Roth's work continued to evolve concurrent with the vanguard of postwar American art, from Abstract Expressionism through Pop, and ultimately into Color Field abstraction. His paintings of the 1970's and 80's are crisp and boldly graphic, emphasizing expanses of saturated color over the more dense and calligraphic compositions of his earlier period.

Roth exhibited at MOMA in 1963 and was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work is in the collection of MOMA.