James Francis Gill
© James Francis Gill
James Francis Gill was born in 1934 in Tahoka, Texas, where he lives and works today. Gill is considered in the literature as an important co-founder of Pop Art and is one of the last living artists of this movement.
In 1961 and 1962 Gill studied painting at the University of Texas at Austin. As a young artist, he moved to Los Angeles, where he met Felix Landau. Landau was one of the most respected art dealers of his time. He saw in Gill’s work, influences from Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon. He was dealing with all these artists at that time.
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
In December 1962 Landau organized a first solo exhibition for Gill in New York. This resulted in the purchase of two works by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Gill’s works were regularly shown at MoMA in the mid-1960s with works by Edward Hopper, Robert Rauschenberg, Pablo Picasso, Heinz Mack, Alexander Calder, Ernst-Ludwig Kirchner, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, and others. Other museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Stiftung Ludwig also included Gill in their collections.
James Gill has a special connection to Marilyn Monroe. Shortly after her death in 1962, the Museum of Modern Art, New York included Gill’s painting „Marilyn Triptych“ in the permanent collection. This was James Gill’s breakthrough in the art market.
SAO PAULO 9 BIENNIAL
In 1967, Gill is shown at the São Paulo 9 Biennial as an official U.S. participant along with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana and Tom Wesselmann, and others. In 1968, the TIME Magazine commissioned him to design the cover. Hollywood stars such as John Wayne, Tony Curtis, Dennis Hopper and Richard Chamberlain commissioned him to paint their portraits or collected his art. Major national corporations such as the Mead Corporation and Time-Life purchased his paintings for their collections.
In 1972, Gill left Los Angeles. He wanted to distance himself from fame and glamour. During this time, he continued painting. But he did not present his works to the public until the late 1990s. During this time, he worked as an architect. In 1997, art historian David McCarthy wrote an article about Gill for the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s art magazine. This interview initiated Gill’s return to the art market. In 2005, a major retrospective was presented in his current hometown San Angelo, Texas at the Museum of Fine Arts. Other museum exhibitions followed.
I love to paint. When I wake up in the morning I think: Now I can paint again! Sometimes I think in the evening: So now sleep quickly, then I can start painting again in the morning.
Gill has the most awesome biography you can imagine.
Gill removes the masks of public figures and reveals their blurred anonymity with a powerful impulse on our consciousness.
James Gill's paintings are as current as the morning paper.
There are no rules on the canvas. It can go anywhere. Every painting is a very own, special experience.“