James Grant (1924 – 1997)
James Grant was a painter and sculptor most active from the late 1950s into the early 1970s. Best known for his sculptural work in plastics, this work by no means defined him. Still, it was instead a natural endpoint of an exploration into increased dimensionality starting from abstract canvases, moving through collages and bas-reliefs until the work finally came off the wall in sculptural form.
James Grant was born in Los Angeles in 1924. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Engineering from U.S.C., he pursued his M.F.A. at the Jepson Art Institute in Los Angeles, studying under Rico Lebrun. In 1950 Grant accepted a teaching position at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, where he was Assistant Professor of Art for nine years. During his tenure at Pomona, he worked with many influential artists and art historians, including painters Karl Benjamin and Frederick Hammersley, as well as Peter Selz (who later went on to become Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, New York) and Seymour Slive (Director of the Fogg Museum, Harvard University).
While working in Southern California, Grant had solo exhibitions at the Pasadena Art Museum, Pomona College, and U.C. Riverside, and group exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum, the Oakland Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Art (now S.F. MoMA).
After Pomona, Grant enjoyed a two-year stay in Rome, where his paintings began to develop in texture – moving more towards collage work, using both paint and fabric. His stay was punctuated by a solo exhibition at the Galleria Pogliani in Rome.
Upon returning to the United States in 1962, Grant settled in San Francisco, where his collage work continued. In 1963 he had a solo exhibition at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco. During the 60s, he regularly showed at galleries and museums both in the Bay Area (Hansen Gallery) and New York (Bertha Schaefer Gallery and Grand Central Moderns).
In the mid-1960s, his collages began to include polyester resin which he applied in a painterly fashion to the canvas. Soon he began to cast the resin into large, textured bas-reliefs. His plastic work culminated in the development of large cast resin freestanding sculptures of geometric disks, tall spikes, and subtly curved shapes which were highly polished.
In 1970, he had a retrospective at Mills College in Oakland documenting his transition in style from abstract canvases to collages to bas-reliefs and freestanding sculptures. In the 1970s, he worked on several commissioned works, many incorporating unique plastic and glass materials.
After a break from art during the late 1970s, he returned to painting in the early 1980s producing small watercolors cut into squares and reassembled grids. He then took this format to a large scale, painting acrylic canvases which were also cut into squares and reassembled in works ranging from four to eight feet. This work continued into the 1990s.
James Grant passed away in Stinson Beach, CA, in August 1997.
2005 AskART.com Inc. – Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson (Editor): The Artists Bluebook 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005
2005 Davenport, Ray. Davenport’s Art Reference: The Gold Edition
2004 Landauer, Susan. San Francisco and Second Wave: The Blair Collection of Bay Area Abstract Expressionism
1985 DuPont, Diana, K Holland. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Paintings and Sculpture Collection
1985 Albright, Thomas. Art in the San Francisco Bay Area; 1945-1980
1984 Orr-Cahill, Christina. The Art of California: Selected Works / Oakland Museum
1984 Opitz, Glenn B (editor). Dictionary of American Sculptors: 18th Century to Present
1974 Busch, Julia. A Decade of Sculpture; The 1960s
1968 Tampa Bay Art Center. 40 Now California Painters
1965 Selz, Peter. Art Across America
Claremont Museum of Art
Georgia Museum of Art
Oakland Museum of Art
M.H. de Young Museum of San Francisco
Pasadena Art Museum
Pomona College Museum of Art, Montgomery Art Center
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA)
The Carnegie Art Museum
The University of Mary Washington Galleries
1972 Triangle Gallery, San Francisco
1970 Mills College Art Gallery
1969 Seligman Gallery, Seattle, WA
1968 Raymond College, University of the Pacific
1966 Hansen Gallery, San Francisco
1963 Grand Central Moderns, New York
1963 M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco
1962 Galleria Pogliani, Rome
1961 Grand Central Moderns, New York
1958 University of California at Riverside
1958 Humboldt State College
1958 Pomona College, Claremont, CA
1956 Pasadena Art Museum
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2007 Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA, San Francisco and the Second Wave: The Blair Collection of Abstract Expressionism
2004 Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA, San Francisco and the Second Wave: The Blair Collection of Abstract Expressionism
1995 Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA, A Bay Area Connection: Works from the Anderson Collection
1985 Pomona College, The Colleges Collect
1971 University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture
1971 Stanford Art Gallery, Palo Alto, CA, West Coast Art
1971 Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA, Color in Sculpture
1971 Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, CA, Pierres de Fantasie
1970 Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE, Looking West
1969 University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture
1968 Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, Plastic as Plastic
1969 Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, PA, Plastics: New Art
1968 Hansen Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Recent Developments in Plastic
1968 Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, CA, West Coast ’68, Painters and Sculptors
1967 Hansen Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Plastics West Coast
1967 University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture
1966 Mead Corporation, Art Across America
1966 Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, CA, ’66 Painters and Sculptors
1966 San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA, 85th Annual Exhibition
1963 Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia
1963 Idaho State University
1963 Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri
1963 Cornell University, Ithaca New York
1962 Art Center in La Jolla
1960 University of Nebraska, Nebraska Art Association Annual
1959 Pasadena Art Museum, A Decade (1949-1959)
1959 Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York
1958 San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA, 77th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition
1957 California State Fair and Exhibition
1956 Pomona Museum, Pomona, CA, Grant, Hammersley, Lawler
1955 Los Angeles County Museum
1954 Oakland Art Museum, Western Painters Annual Exhibition
1954 Los Angeles County Museum; University of Southern California
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