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George Tooker in 1988, photo courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York
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by Charlie Finch

George Tooker, who died yesterday at 90 and painted and exhibited right up to the end of his life, was known for one painting, The Subway (1950), deemed the perfect summation of modern urban alienation. Other examples of artists known by just one painting immediately come to mind (try it, it's fun): Gericault's Raft of the Medusa, Robert Indiana's Love, Grant Wood's American Gothic. If you are known for two paintings, such as Leonardo, then you are home free and curiosity from the general public about the rest of your work can continue.