Works from the Collection of Gene Summers
Celebrated architect, artist and designer Gene Summers had a long friendship and artistic conversation with artist Jim Dine. The two first met in the 1950s in New York, where Dine was living and Summers was working for the offices of Mies van der Rohe on the Seagram Building. Summers became a major patron of Dine's work and amassed a large collection of his prints, paintings and sculptures; over the years, their artistic voices would inform one another on numerous projects.
Their most significant collaboration was the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, which Summers had begun renovations on in the late 1970s. In 1981, he commissioned Dine to create carpets, mirrors, and plaster and metal wall-mounted reliefs to decorate the hotel. The following year, Dine returned to California to create an eight-and-a-half by seventy foot painting (his largest work ever) for Summers' architectural firm offices in Newport Beach. The Gate: Pershing Square, which depicts a long row of towering, expressive trees, was imbued with a highly personal touch by Dine; Summers' first project he ever worked on for Mies van der Rohe (whom was monumentally influential to Summers) was building model trees for the entirety of his summer internship. The two remained close friends and colleagues until Summers' death in 2011.
For nearly six decades, American artist Jim Dine has evoked the power of symbolism, familiarity, and the search for self through a variety of mediums. A seeming critique on modern society, Dine places personal possessions and regular objects at the focal point of his prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures. His evolving imagery includes reoccurring themes such as heart shapes, bathrobes, tools, and the human body for which he is best known.
Dine was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1935. His grandfather owned a hardware store where he worked throughout his youth later influencing his interest in ordinary objects. “I grew up with tools…I’ve always been enchanted by these objects made by anonymous hands,” he has stated. From 1953-1957 Dine studied poetry at the University of Cincinnati and later the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. After receiving his BFA from the Ohio University in Athens, GA, he moved to New York in 1958.
Dine began participating in stage performances, later known as “Happenings”, alongside artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Robert Whitman, and John Cage. The performances helped to launch his career and his first solo exhibition was held in New York at the Reuben Gallery in 1960. While frequently associated with Pop Art that developed at this time, the artist does not identify with a specific movement. In 1966 he remarked, "Pop is concerned with exteriors…I'm concerned with interiors." He continued to develop his body of work expanding upon his iconic themes with series of flowers, trees, and the Venus di Milo.
His work has been exhibited internationally and been the focus of major retrospectives at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art (1970), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (1999), and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (2004). Dine’s work is included in prestigious collections around the world including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Spain, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN.
Jim Dine lives and works between New York, Paris, and Walla Walla, WA.
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