Born in Cincinnati in 1935, Jim Dine is a major post-war artist whose work ranges from vibrant, large-scale paintings to exquisitely-rendered, romantic drawings and bronze sculpture. Representative of the American Pop Art movement, Dine was first known for Action Painting, bringing to this form of art improvised theatrical aspects. In 1958, while he lived in New York, he responded to abstract expressionism by building installations and organizing happenings.
The deep enthusiasm following Dine’s immersion into the New York art scene was followed by deep skepticism. This uncertainty lead him to confront himself to a more traditional painting, which will led him to recklessness and gaiety of chromaticism but also the “Heart”, which will become his favorite pattern. Often colorful, his paintings use the melted technique (blurred outlines) and series, with endless variations especially in chromatic shades. The skull, found in his paintings as a reminder in the midst of many ordinary and everyday objects of the contemporary world, revives the tradition of still life.
In the works that best characterize his work, we also witness the game between the real object and the painted object, a game of trompe-l’oeil. According to him, the canvas is the last “point of contact to unreality” while the object, a symbol of life, remains mostly a concrete object.
In the 1980s, he devoted himself more to sculpture. Since then, he seems to find his models more in nature than in objects made by humans. In his painting, Jim Dine combines collages, assemblages and objects, and thus emphasizes the personal and manual nature of his work, which sets him apart from the more mechanical aesthetics of Pop Art.
In 2019, Jim Dine was appointed the Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’honneur of France.Download the artist biography