I was raised in a family of ironmongers and the tools were always around me. I never had the desire necessarily to be a craftsman. I was involved in their metaphorical quality, in their mythic quality, and the thing they carried with them, of wanting the act of working.

Jim Dine

Jim Dine

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. 

Gene Summers in front of Jim Dine's painting The Gate: Pershing Square. Photo: Collection Centre for Architecture, Montreal.; Dine working on reliefs for Summer's renovation of the Biltmore Hotel. Photo: Otis Art Institute.

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.