While George Tooker’s paintings typically convey the artist’s passionate desire for social harmony and justice, Government Bureau (1956) represents a darker, more pessimistic dimension of his art.
The work takes the viewer inside a cold, starkly lit interior filled with anonymous bodies and cubicles. Eerily, the circular windows in the cubical walls reveal nothing but the tired, sad eyes of government employees staring blankly. The scene’s unsettling remoteness is accentuated by Tooker’s fine and detailed technique, rooted in the Italian Renaissance egg-tempera painting.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.