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Frederick James

1915 – 1985

Seven Musicians

Frederick James (1915-1985). Although graduating from the University of Michigan with a major in architecture, he returned to Kansas City in 1939 and dedicated himself to becoming a painter. That year, he won the watercolor prize competition at the Kansas City Art Institute. A year later he had a piece accepted for the International Exhibition of Watercolors at the Art Institute of Chicago and won the Friends of Art Purchase Prize in the Midwestern Artists Exhibition of the Kansas City Art Institute. The Art Institute immediately hired him to teach watercolor classes, and James began a close association with fellow teacher and famed Regionalist artist Thomas Hart Benton. Benton selected 15 of James’ watercolors to be included in a widely-publicized exhibition of his students’ work that was held at the Associated American Artists Gallery in New York City in November 1940. After the mid-1950s, James lost interest in promoting his work on a national stage, but he continued his prolific output, producing many watercolors of rural Missouri and Kansas, especially the Flint Hills of Kansas. Below is a pen and ink drawing on paper signed in the lower right corner, “Frederick James.” The scene depicts seven musicians performing on stage. Ca., 1940’s. 7.5” x 11”

Artist:  Frederick James

Date:  ca. 1940’s

Size:  7.5″ x 11″

Medium:  Pen & Ink on Paper

Price:  $495