moe brooker

Moe Brooker, Remembered

Moe Brooker passed away at the age of 81 last month, ending an internationally acclaimed career that spanned over 50 years as an abstract artist.

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), the beloved alma mater of Moe Brooker, hosted a tribute in honor of his life’s work. The celebration of life was a well-attended gathering with a wide range of guests who recalled a gentle man, compassionate educator, dedicated civil servant, and devoted family member.

The youngest of seven children, Brooker was born in South Philadelphia on January 1, 1940. In the early 1970s, after completing his education at Tyler School of Art and PAFA, the artist changed his direction from semi-figurative to pure abstraction, citing the desire to paint vibrant and rich African-American culture but not having the representational iconography to do so. 

moe brooker

In addition to painting, he served as chair of the Philadelphia Art Commission for 10 years and taught at such colleges as the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, the Moore College of Art and Design, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and the University of North Carolina before retiring in 2012. A few of his works are in the permanent collections of notable institutions, such as the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Several awards and accolades for Brooker’s work have been bestowed over the years. Brooker – the son of a minister – stated in his acceptance of the James Van Der Zee Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brandywine Workshop that “if you are given a gift, using that gift in its fullest sense is true worship.”

Moe Brooker

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