Coming of age as an immigrant arriving from a Russian occupied Poland to a Jewish tenement house on the Lower East Side in New York in 1913, Tworkov faced a new culture and adolescence at the same time. In his early twenties, he became an avid reader of contemporary poetry and prose: Pound, Elliot, Frost, Cummings, Moore, Dos Passos, Joyce, and Proust. However, overwhelmed by the discovery of Cézanne while visiting an exhibition of French painting at the Brooklyn Museum, Tworkov leaves Columbia College where he was studying to become a poet and redirects his creative efforts to that of becoming a painter. In the summer of 1923, he and his sister, Janice Biala, hitchhike their way to Provincetown with the intention of studying with Charles Hawthorne. But their modernist leanings find them seeking out a more contemporary approach. It doesn’t take them long to discover the painter Ross Moffett who introduces them to artists Karl Knaths and Edwin Dickinson.
Work from this decade is characterized by a modernist re-interpretation of classical themes: landscapes, still-life, and portraiture.