Collections> Browse Jim Dine

Collections> Browse Jim Dine

Jim Dine
Holdings (53)
2 paintings, 1 sculpture, 2 unique works on paper, 1 gouaches/watercolor, 7 books, 36 edition prints/proofs, 2 posters, 2

Wikipedia About Jim Dine

Jim Dine (born June 16, 1935) is an American pop artist. He is sometimes considered to be a part of the Neo-Dada movement. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, attended Walnut Hills High School, the University of Cincinnati, and received a BFA from Ohio University in 1957. He first earned respect in the art world with his Happenings. Pioneered with artists Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow, in conjunction with musician John Cage, the “Happenings” were chaotic performance art that was a stark contrast with the more somber mood of the expressionists popular in the New York art world. The first of these was the 30 second The Smiling Worker performed in 1959. Jim Dine has been represented by The Pace Gallery since 1976. Full Wikipedia Article

essay Jim Dine, Walker Art Center Collections, 2005

For more than four decades, Jim Dine has created a profound vocabulary of iconic images with which to communicate a pantheon of emotions stemming from his exploration of the depths of human experience, both in the mind and in the world. A native of Cincinnati, in 1958 he moved from Ohio to New York, where he was befriended by young and up-and-coming artists such as Red Grooms, Claes Oldenburg, and Tom Wesselmann. There he became an integral part of the burgeoning avant-garde scene that was at once laying Abstract Expressionism to rest and offering an alternative to the prevailing aesthetic of action painting. By the mid-1960s, Dine’s work had become synonymous with Pop Art, a movement with which he has never felt a strong affinity. He has long disassociated himself by arguing that his sources are personal, not popular, and that his works pertain more to his lifelong search for the self and for insights into what it means to be human. In 1977, he insisted, “I’m not a Pop artist. I’m not part of the movement because I’m too subjective. Pop is concerned with exteriors. I’m concerned with interiors.”1

In the spring of 1966, Dine spent two months in London, where he was commissioned by Paul Cornwall-Jones at Editions Alecto to produce a print portfolio.2 He later returned to England with his wife and three children in June 1967, and decided to abandon painting,3 a moratorium that opened him to other creative endeavors, including printmaking and poetry. By 1969, he had taken up painting again, having sufficiently banished his demons and come to terms with his early success and his self-imposed outsider status.

This personal renaissance led to a series called Painting Pleasures, which includes the Walker Art Center’s July London Sun (1969), a work that addresses the subjects of the act of painting itself and Dine’s identity as an artist. Following the French Impressionists’ tradition of plein air painting, he strove to record the effects of air and light, while also capturing the very particular atmospheric conditions that he had experienced in London and nowhere else.4 Dine has frequently turned to art-trade motifs, such as palettes or color charts, for their abstract qualities but also “to venerate painting for the sake of painting.”5 Similarly, in this work he has placed a portable easel with requisite canvas attached in front of his larger, four-panel work.6 The easel, the identical gestural brushstrokes that appear on the lower right canvas and its miniature counterpart, and the ghostly word “pleasures” that the artist stenciled on the bottom edge of the lower left canvas all self-reflexively point to the elation and release brought about by his return to his favored medium after a long hiatus.

Dine’s prodigious career has encompassed a wide range of media, including sculpture. In the winter of 1982–1983, he traveled to Los Angeles to work on a large series of bas-reliefs commissioned for the newly renovated Biltmore Hotel, and during his stay, he was invited to teach a bronze-casting course at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design.7 With the assistance of the art department staff and a select group of students, he began work on The Crommelynck Gate with Tools (1983). Dine had executed a series of paintings two years earlier in which the gate image made its first appearance, and he attributes his use of this motif to a dream he had of the nineteenth-century iron gate that stands in front of the Parisian studio and residence of master printer Aldo Crommelynck. “For eight years I could see the gate from the table where I made etchings, and it became a symbol for me of France and my friendship with Aldo and his wife, Pep,” Dine recalls. “I saw in its arabesque shapes a way to make a painting that would be the closest I would ever come to abstraction. Of course, it didn’t end up that way. It never does.”8 Approximately twice as large as the actual gate, his sculpture includes direct wax castings of his own tools, such as hammers, axes, pickaxes, cutters, and wrenches as well as wooden sticks, which were heated and twisted to alter their appearance, then cast in bronze and welded to the armature of the gate. Tools have been a part of Dine’s consciousness since he was a very young boy working in his grandfather’s hardware store, and continue to assert a pervasive presence in his oeuvre. He has even gone so far as to refer to them as his “passports to feeling.”9 For an artist who has relentlessly exposed his inner life through his art in a fearless search for meaning, this gate with all its talismanic accretions is the ultimate revelatory motif.

  1. Quoted in John Gruen, “Jim Dine and the Life of Objects,” Artnews 76 (September 1977): 38.

  2. Dine created a portfolio of ten screenprints with collage entitled Tool Box (1966).

  3. Dine had been feeling increasingly alienated from the New York art world and was also having a disagreement over money with his dealer in New York, Sidney Janis. He spoke freely about this rift in his interview with Germano Celant and Clare Bell in Germano Celant and Clare Bell, eds., Jim Dine: Walking Memory, 1959–1969, exh. cat. (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1999), 204.

  4. The artist has stated that the Walker’s painting relates directly to an earlier work, Long Island Landscape (1963), currently in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Dine, unpublished interview by Martin Friedman, November 18, 1981 (Walker Art Center Archives).

  5. Quoted in Marco Livingstone, Jim Dine: The Alchemy of Images (New York: Monacelli Press, 1998), 92.

  6. His decision to use four canvases in a grid formation was a practical one; his art supply store did not carry anything larger, and he had wanted to work on a very large scale. However, the qualities of formal division had also long appealed to him and he had successfully used this format in the past. See Friedman interview, 1981 (Walker Art Center Archives).

  7. In November 1981, Dine’s longtime Los Angeles patron Gene Summers commissioned the artist to create the work for the Biltmore’s restaurant. Dine worked with the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design to produce the piece. See Maurice Tuchman, Jim Dine in Los Angeles, exh. bro. (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1983).

  8. Quoted in Graham W. J. Beal, Jim Dine: Five Themes, exh. cat. (Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1984), 136.

  9. Quoted in Martin Friedman, “Brushstrokes, Passports and Bones,” in Martin Friedman, Jim Dine: New Tool Paintings, exh. cat. (New York: Pace Wildenstein, 2002), 4.

Carpenter, Elizabeth. “Jim Dine.” In Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole: Walker Art Center Collections, edited by Joan Rothfuss and Elizabeth Carpenter. Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center, 2005.

© 2005 Walker Art Center

artworks — Jim Dine — Collections — Walker Art Center