Gordon Cook, printmaker, painter, sculptor, and educator, was born in Chicago on October 3, 1927. Between 1945 and 1950, he was enrolled in studies at Illinois Wesleyan University where he earned his BFA. Cook studied intaglio printmaking with Vera Berdich in 1949 and attended S.W. Hayter’s lectures at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He relocated to Iowa City in 1950 for graduate studies in printmaking with Mauricio Lasansky. The following year Cook moved to San Francisco where he worked as a printer’s apprentice in the International Typographical Union. He was to rely on his skill as a typesetter for employment for much of his life.
In his off hours he focused on his printmaking and the first exhibition of his etchings was held at the Porpoise Gallery in San Francisco. He was a charter member of the Bay Printmakers Society, served on the Board of Directors, and exhibited in their annual exhibitions held at the Oakland Art Museum between 1955 and 1960. Cook was included in the San Francisco Art Association’s annual drawing and print shows between 1956 and 1963 and a retrospective of his etchings was mounted at the Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts in 1964. He met painter Joan Brown in the mid 1950s and they married in 1969. During their marriage Cook turned to painting, putting aside his printmaking tools for about thirteen years. Cook taught printmaking, drawing and painting at numerous institutions in Northern California including the San Francisco Art Institute, Sacramento State College, Academy of Art College in San Francisco, San Francisco State College, University of California at Davis, and in Oakland at Mills College and the California College of Arts and Crafts.