Paul Jenkins (1923-2012) was raised near Youngstown, Ohio. After later moving to New York, Jenkins became a student of Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the Art Students League and became associated with the Abstract Expressionists. Jenkins work is influenced by his interest in Eastern religions and philosophy, the study of the I Ching, along with the writings of Carl Jung prompted Jenkins' turn toward inward reflection and mysticism which have dominated his aesthetic as well as his life.
Jenkins described himself as an ''abstract phenomenist.'' At the beginning of the 1960s, influenced by Goethe's color theories, he began to preface the titles of his works with the word ''Phenomena,'' followed by a key word or phrase. Throughout the 60s, his work was shown worldwide, at major galleries and museums in Tokyo, London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam and elsewhere. In 1963, he took over de Kooning's light-infused loft at Union Square where he worked until the end of 2000. Regarding his paintings, Jenkins once said, ''I have conversations with them, and they tell me what they want to be called.'' Until his death in New York City in June 2012, Jenkins continued to work in acrylic on canvas, as well as watercolor on paper.
His work is found in international museums and collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio (near Struthers), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Fogg Museum of Art of Harvard University, Cambridge, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul, France, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Tate Gallery in London. Thousands of items from the artist's archives are now at the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, constituting an important documentary source.