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Master Artist Series

Moe Brooker

Renowned abstract painter Moe Brooker begins each work with a question. That question marks the start of a journey—it leads him on a search for information, spurring invention and creation, and prompting the artist to take risks. This journey, which Brooker calls a “search for the real”, is intrinsic to the artist’s practice. Brooker’s process of question-creating allows him to renew the search continually, resulting in his ever-changing, non-repetitive abstract compositions.


Never allowing himself to become comfortable or complacent in his artistic practice, Brooker constantly strives to reinvestigate the questions at the foundation of his practice, and to reinvigorate his works. With each empty canvas or blank page, Brooker aims to create anew. With each layer of color or stroke of line, Brooker breathes life into his works.

Moe Brooker mixed media drawing titled "The Evidence of Things Not Seen"

Moe Brooker, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, 2010. Mixed media on paper, 5.5 x 13.5 inches. Inquire for price.

Moe Brooker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1940. He began his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1959, earning a Certificate in Painting in 1963. Brooker continued his arts education at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, where he earned a BFA in 1970 and an MFA in 1972. He has held positions on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Art, Parsons School of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Moore College of Art and Design.


Brooker has won several prestigious awards for his art, including the James Van Der Zee Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and the Artists’ Equity Award in 2010, and has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows across the United States. Brooker’s work is represented in public and private collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Moe Brooker mixed media drawing titled "Spirit of Promise #11"
Moe Brooker mixed media drawing "Personal Perspectives #5"

Left to right: Moe Brooker, Spirit of Promise #11, 2013. Mixed media on paper, 9.5 x 9.5 inches; Moe Brooker, Personal Perspectives #5, 2016. Mixed media on paper, 10.5 x 8.5 inches. Inquire for price.

Brooker’s unique style is the result of a lifetime of influence, study, and exploration. Located in his early childhood days is the artist’s unique “internal color sense.” His father a minister in Philadelphia, Brooker spent quite a bit of time in church, looking out over a congregation full of women in vibrantly colorful Sunday hats. These exciting visual patters were reinforced by the quilts of his grandmother, whose internal sense of history greatly influenced her grandson. These early visual memories imprinted on a young boy who, from an early age, believed that he was destined to be an artist.


From his academic training, which emphasized a highly representational style, Brooker draws on his understanding of composition, form, and color. Early on in his painting career, Brooker found himself to be fascinated by shirts—the wrinkles and folds, the multitudes of colors in the highlights and shadows. This tendency towards abstract concerns in his artistic practice was perhaps a harbinger of what was to come. Those early days of figurative painting still greatly inform Brooker’s work. Constantly employed in his abstractions are the figurative lessons that he learned as a student—a process of looking, of working, of constructing.

Mixed media painting by Moe Brooker titled "low res no. 4"
Moe Brooker mixed media drawing titled "Low res No. 4"

Left to right: Moe Brooker, Low res No. 4, 2013. Mixed media on paper, 9.5 x 9.5 inches; Moe Brooker, Low res No. 5, 2013. Mixed media on paper, 9.5 x 9.5 inches.

Brooker brings to his works an atmosphere of energy and intimacy, which is heavily influenced by the artist’s love of jazz. Built on the intimate relationship between musicians, and between the audience and the musician, jazz music is in constant flux—its improvisational nature makes it personal and alive. Brooker’s abstract works contain a similar improvisational energy. Seemingly spontaneous, Brooker’s works are borne from foundations of technical skill and compositional understanding. Much like jazz, his works are immediate, but with purpose and direction—they are personal, and their power is the result of our intimate interactions with them, as if the artist is communing with us directly.

Moe Brooker mixed media drawing titled "The Inside Story"
Mixed media painting by Moe Brooker titled "here & now"

Left to right: Moe Brooker,The Inside Story, 2006. Mixed media on panel, 48 x 48 inches; Moe Brooker, Here & Now, 2012. Mixed media on panel, 36 x 36 inches.

Spontaneous and open, rhythmic and brilliantly colored, the harmonious and soulful works of Moe Brooker continue to captivate viewers. Showing no signs of slowing down, Moe Brooker has been busy in his studio over the past year, working on an exciting new commission. Mixed media on canvas, and 16 feet by 8 feet, this mammoth work is scheduled to be installed at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in April 2021.


Works by Moe Brooker are always available to view at Stanek Gallery—just give us a call or send us an email to schedule your private viewing appointment. Visit the link below to view the full collection of Moe Brooker works at Stanek Gallery.

Moe Brooker mixed media painting titled "Personally Joyful"

Moe Brooker, Personally Joyful, 2017. Mixed media on panel, 48 x 60 inches. Inquire for price.

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