Jack Tworkov was born in Biala, Poland. He emigrated with his mother and sister, the artist Janice Biala, to the United States in 1913. He graduated from Columbia University in New York in 1923. He studied studio art at the National Academy of Design from 1923 to 1924 and at The Art Students League from 1925 to 1926. In 1929, he began painting year-round in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He taught at Black Mountain College in 1952 in Asheville, North Carolina. He served as Chairman of the Art Department at the School of Art and Architecture at Yale University, where he taught from 1963 to 1969, received his Master of Fine Arts in Privatum in 1963, and retired as Professor of Painting, Emeritus in 1969. He remained active artistically, intellectually, and professionally until the last months of his life and died in his home in Provincetown.
The artist has been the subject of monographic museum exhibitions, such as Jack Tworkov: A Retrospective Exhibition (1964), organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; traveled to Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, Pasadena Art Museum, CA, San Francisco Museum of Art, and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. Jack Tworkov: Recent Paintings (1971), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Jack Tworkov: Fifteen Years of Painting (1982), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Jack Tworkov: Paintings 1928–1982 (1987), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
Recent and significant exhibitions include Jack Tworkov: The Accident of Choice, The Artist at Black Mountain College 1952 (2011), Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center, Asheville, NC and Jack Tworkov: Against Extremes/Five Decades (2010), Provincetown Art Association and Museum, MA.
He is represented in many museum collections worldwide such as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; The Jewish Museum, New York, NY; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Provincetown Art Association and Museum, MA;Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Tate Modern, London, England; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.
He was awarded The Skowhegan Medal Medal for Painting, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1974); Andrew Carnegie Visiting Professor of Art, Cooper Union (1975); Distinguished Teaching of Art Award, College Art Association of America (1976); and Member, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1981).
In 2012, the artist was the subject of Jack Tworkov: A Catalogue Raisonné Project (panOpticon), the definitive resource of the artist’s paintings, drawings, and prints and the first of its kind to be released free to the public online.