The foreground of this painting is dominated by a "pieta" type grouping. One woman hovers closely over what appears to be a dying man, while another comforts a small child. This part of the canvas is underlighted. The colors are rich earth tones. The figures are non-Caucasian.

In the background, in harsh light, is a group of identical looking starkly white men. In fact, their faces are almost skeletal. All are in suits, three are seated, with four others standing behind the seated figures. They look very much like a "tribunal."


Corporate Decision was painted in 1983, the year DRG’s (Diagnosis Related Groups) were introduced to medicine. And although this painting was not a direct response to that event, it speaks volumes about the corporatization of medicine in particular, and the artist’s general "utter loathing . . . for decisions based on ’operating conveniences’ without regard for the needs of the spirit" (46). Very much like his other symbolic realist paintings, Tooker explains that he paints "reality impressed on the mind so hard that it returns as a dream" (10). Quotations are from Garver, Thomas H., George Tooker. San Francisco: Pomegranate (1992).

Primary Source

Garver, Thomas H., George Tooker. San Francisco: Pomegranate (1992); Carmichael, Ann G. and Ratzan, Richard M. , eds. Medicine: A Treasury of Art and Literature. New York: Hugh Lauter Levin Assoc. Distributed by Macmillan (1991).