Bizarre is part of a series of images of glamorous, stylishly dressed women inspired by artist Allen Tucker’s encounter with the paintings of
Allen Tucker’s early work reflects the influence of both the French impressionists and the American impressionist
John I. H. Baur, Revolution and Tradition in Modern American Art (Cambridge, MA, 1958), 85.
Painted while Tucker was a lecturer on composition at the Art Students League, this half-length image of a young, modern woman—the era’s iconic flapper with bobbed hair, cloche hat, and loose-fitting, short-sleeved blouse—is a leading example of the artist’s mature postimpressionist style. The flat forms, dark contours, emphasis on decorative surface pattern, heavy impasto, and bold color recall the portraits that Van Gogh painted in Arles and Saint-Rémy. The work is part of a series of images of glamorous figures, including Bagdad
The title of the Gallery’s painting, Bizarre, alludes to the sitter’s unconventional pose, intense gaze, and boldly patterned blouse. She sits sideways on a chair, rests her hands on its backrest, and turns her head to look directly at the viewer. The unusual composition brings to mind the critic Forbes Watson’s analysis that “the sweep of a big design clearly excites [Tucker] more than any detail of nature.”
Forbes Watson, Allen Tucker (New York, 1932), 12–13.
James W. Lane, “Vincent in America: Allen Tucker; Whitney Memorial to a U.S. Post-Impressionist,” Art News 38 (Dec. 16, 1939): 13.
August 17, 2018
lower left: Allen Tucker
The artist [1866-1939]; by inheritance to his wife, Mrs. Allen Tucker [1870-1971, née Eufrasia Aguilar Leland Wesson], New York; The Allen Tucker Memorial, New York; gift 1971 to NGA.
- The Twenties Revisited, Gallery of Modern Art, New York, 1965, unnumbered catalogue.
- Allen Tucker 1866-1939: Centennial Exhibition, The Milch Galleries, New York, 1966, no. 14.
- Extended loan for use by John C. Kornblum, U.S. Representative to the Conference and Security Commission of Europe, Vienna, Austria, 1992-1994.
- Extended loan for use by Samuel Brown, U.S. Representative to the Conference and Security Commission of Europe, Vienna, Austria, 1994-1998.
- Extended loan for use by Secretary Margaret Spellings, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C., 2005-2008.
The painting is executed on a medium- to heavy-weight, plain-weave canvas that exhibits many inconsistencies in its weave that appear as high points. It is still stretched on its original stretcher. The ground is thin, white, and smooth, and continues to the edges of all the tacking margins, indicating that the canvas was commercially prepared. A preliminary lay-in with rough, angular contours and a few of the features, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth, is visible with infrared examination.
The infrared examination was conducted using a Santa Barbara Focalplane InSb camera fitted with a J astronomy filter.
- Watson, Forbes. Allen Tucker. New York, 1932: 32-33, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 251, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 370, repro.