Jack Boul was born in Brooklyn in 1927, and grew up in the South Bronx, the son of a Russian émigré father and a Romanian mother. He attended the American Artist’s School in New York, before being drafted into the United States Army. He served in an Engineers battalion as part of the US occupational forces in and around Pisa, Italy. After the war, he moved to Seattle, Washington where he studied on the GI Bill at the Cornish School of Art, graduating in 1951. Later that year he moved to the Washington metropolitan area to continue his studies at American University. He exhibited in the Annual Area Exhibition at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1951, and again in 1954, 1956, and 1958. Boul also appeared in a number of group shows at the Baltimore Museum of Art in the 1950s. In 1956 he appeared in the Sixty-Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Society of Washington Artists, in a show juried and dominated by abstract expressionists.
In 1957 Jack Boul received his first solo showing, at the Franz Bader Gallery, attracting positive reviews that cited him as a promising young artist. In 1960 he had a one-man show at the Watkins Gallery at American University, where later he began to teach in 1969. During his fifteen years as a professor of art at American University, Boul showed regularly at the Watkins Gallery. He had his first museum exhibition in 1974 at the Baltimore Museum of Art in a three-person exhibition that garnered several positive notices.
In 1984, after fifteen years teaching at American University, Boul became one of the first faculty members of the new Washington Studio School. During ten years of teaching painting, drawing, and monotype, he had annual one-man shows in the Courtyard Gallery of the Studio School where he continues regularly to show today. In 1986, Jack Boul was part of a two-person exhibition that included the work of the late Washington artist Peter DeAnna, organized by the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, and later shown at the University of Maryland in College Park. In addition, he contributed to numerous area group exhibitions, most prominently with eight oil paintings in the traveling show Still Working: Under Known Artists of Age in America shown locally at The Corcoran Gallery of Art. He retired from the Studio School in 1994 to devote his time to printmaking and painting.
In 2000, Boul had a one-man show at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In a review of that show, Washington Post critic Paul Richard wrote:
“Boul is excellent at benign glimpses. His subjects are as unthreatening as a stroll in the country or a visit to the Phillips. He sees an empty wheelbarrow bright in the back yard, glowing in the sunshine of a summer afternoon, and in a few strokes captures the essence of that vision. His monotype technique evokes Edgar Degas’. The modernists of Paris liked to walk through neighborhoods and record the quotidian. Boul sees a bald man in a barbershop getting a haircut, and, through a flurry of his dispersed markings, so do we. He sees a couple dining in Baltimore at Haussner’s, or his wife reading the newspaper in the living room, or cows. Nice bucolic cows. The man makes pleasant pictures.”
In 2014, the National Gallery of Art acquired several of Boul’s works. The Philips Collection added his work to their collection in 2017. His works can also be seen on his website www.jackboul.com or on Instagram at @JackBoulArtist.