LAMA BLOG

James Gill: Pop Expressionism

February 9, 2016

Now enjoying a rediscovery, the painter James Gill (born 1934) emerged as a phenomenon in the Los Angeles art scene of the early 1960s. The Texan–a Marine Corps veteran who had given up architectural studies to pursue painting–moved to California in 1961. Though he was unknown, the prominent art dealer Felix Landau offered to represent Gill’s work in Los Angeles and New York. Critics had difficulty placing his art. The use of bright colors and serial imagery drawn often from celebrity culture and the news media prompted many to define Gill as a Pop artist, yet his blurred painterly technique also won him comparisons to Francis Bacon. On February 21, 2016, LAMA will offer five paintings and a sculpture by Gill.

Lot 155, James Gill, Untitled (1962)
Lot 155, James Gill, Untitled (1962)

February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Gill promptly drew a following from members of the Hollywood community as well as attention from established patrons in the East Coast art world. His 1962 triptych Marilyn–painted shortly after the actress’s suicide–was purchased in New York by Dominique and John de Menil and later donated to the Museum of Modern Art. Gill’s work was shown alongside that of Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, and others at the 1967 São Paulo biennial; the following year, he was commissioned by Time magazine to paint a cover image of the dissident Soviet writer Alex Solzhenitsyn.

Lot 151, James Gill, Untitled (1964)

Lot 151, James Gill, Untitled (1964)
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

In 1972, still at the height of fame, Gill retreated from the public eye to live quietly in Northern California. He returned to his native town of San Angelo, Texas and recently resumed exhibiting his work.

Lot 153, James Gill, Infinite Regress DNA (1968)
Lot 153, James Gill, Infinite Regress DNA (1968)
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Edwards, Jim, William A. Emboden, and David McCarthy. Uncommonplaces: The Art of James Francis Gill. San Angelo, TX: San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, 2005. Print.

Lot Information:

Lot 151
SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BRIDGES/LARSON FOUNDATION
James Gill
Untitled
1964
Monoprint on paper laid to board
Signed and dated lower center
Board: 23.75″ x 40.5″; Frame: 24.75″ x 41.5″
Together with two color prints on paper and New Paintings: James Gill Felix Landau Gallery 1968 exhibition catalogue
Provenance: Jack Larson and James Bridges, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Estimate: $1,500 – $2,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 152
SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BRIDGES/LARSON FOUNDATION
James Gill
Untitled (Couple in a Red Car)
c. 1965
Painted and patinated bronze
#1 of 6
Signed “Gill”
6″ x 18″ x 11″
Together with New Paintings: James Gill Felix Landau Gallery 1968 exhibition catalogue
Provenance: Jack Larson and James Bridges, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Estimate: $1,500 – $2,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 153
SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BRIDGES/LARSON FOUNDATION
James Gill
Infinite Regress DNA
1968
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right; bears the inscription “31-25″ verso
Canvas: 31.25″ x 25.25”
Together with New Paintings: James Gill Felix Landau Gallery 1968 exhibition catalogue
Provenance: Jack Larson and James Bridges, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Exhibited: “New Paintings: James Gill,” Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles, December 2, 1968-January 4, 1969
Illustrated: New Paintings: James Gill. Felix Landau Gallery exh. cat. 1968. #6.
Estimate: $1,500 – $2,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 154
SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BRIDGES/LARSON FOUNDATION
James Gill
Untitled (Man with Tattoos)
c. 1968
Monoprint laid down to board with hand-made additions in ballpoint pen
Bears the inscription in red ink “FL #7361″ frame verso
Board: 28.625″ x 22.5″; Frame: 29.75″ x 23.75”
Provenance: Jack Larson and James Bridges, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Estimate: $1,500 – $2,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 155
PROPERTY OF ANOTHER OWNER
James Gill
Untitled
1962
Acrylic on Masonite panel
Signed and dated lower left
Panel: 40″ x 30″; Frame: 41.75″ x 31.625″
Estimate: $3,000 – $5,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 156
PROPERTY OF ANOTHER OWNER
James Gill
Untitled (2)
1962
Acrylic and graphite on paper
Signed and dated lower center; signed and dated lower right
Image/sheet: 18.625″ x 23.75″; Frame: 24.875″ x 30″; Image/sheet: 18.625″ x 23.875″; Frame: 24.875″ x 30″
Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

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