Jess

Movie Posters and Other Works

February 4 – March 19, 2016

Ex. 2- Crito's Socrates-Translation #3
1964
oil on canvas mounted on wood
18 x 25 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Lurid VII
1963
oil crayon on Japanese paper_
15 x 12 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Four O’Clock Shadow of Purple Papier-Mâché
1955
oil wash on unsized canvas
39 x 26 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Study for Narkissos I
n.d.
graphite on paper
24 x 19 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Secret Compartments
1952
oil on canvas
44 x 36 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Keep from Freezing
1993
mixed media paper collage on board
10 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches
The Poetry Collection of the University Libraries,
University at Buffalo,
The State University of New York
© The Jess Collins Trust

Emblems for Robert Duncan II,
4# "the ayre of the music carries:
1989
collage
4 1/4 x 5 5/8 inches (tondo)
© The Jess Collins Trust

Emblems for Robert Duncan II
#7, "Once more, remembering, you build the shrine to Ameinias"
1989
collage
4 1/4 x 6 5/8 inches (tondo)
© The Jess Collins Trust

Untitled (tonsured monk)
n.d.
collage
14 x 9 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Untitled (Four Women on Park Bench)
Caesar's Gate "Rumors"
1955
collage
8 1/4 x 6 1/4 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Untitled (Girl with Geese)
1955
collage
13 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Untitled (Doves and Tomato)
1955
collage
9 x 10 1/8 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Der Alte Geiger
1954
collage
20 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Hero Reenters The Cave
1950
oil on canvas
44 x 48 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Selfsketch, Imaginary Portraits #9
1959
oil on canvas
7 x 6 1/2 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Cake Walk Princess
1954
collage
37 x 23 1/2 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

'Danger Don't Advance,' Salvages IX (last painting)
c.1990
oil on canvas
44 x 18 3/4 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Lovers III Erotic Triptych
1959 and 1969
wax crayon on paper, mounted in cabinet
© The Jess Collins Trust

Untitled (with Wanda Handowska)
1952-53
collage on paper
18 x 23 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Sleep of Prisoner
1952
collage
26 x 18 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Untitled (with Symphony Conductor)
1952-53
collage on paper
18 x 24 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Jacques & Pierre Prévert’s
Voyage Surprise
n.d.
mixed media on board
16 3/4 x 15 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

D.H. Lawrence The Rocking Horse Winner
n.d.
mixed media on board
12 1/2 x 13 7/8 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Jean Renoir's The River
n.d.
mixed media on board
131/8 x 17 3/4 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Jean Cocteau's Orpheus
1957
mixed media on board
23 3/4 x 21 1/8 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Jean Renoir's A Day in the Country
n.d.
mixed media on board
15 x 12 3/8 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Jean Renoir's The Golden Coach
1957
mixed media on board
28 1/4 x 15 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

The Doyly Carte Company in The Mikado
n.d.
mixed media on baord
13 1/2 x 13 1/4 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest
1957
gouache on paper
20 3/4 x 13 1/2 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Jean Renoir's The Rivers
n.d.
mixed media on board
15 1/2 x 13 1/8 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Jacques & Pierre Prévert’s
Voyage Surprise
n.d.
mixed media on board
29 1/4 x 14 1/8 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Andre Gide's Symphonie Pastorale
n.d.
mixed media on board
19 x 17 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

The Marx Bros. in
n.d.
mixed media on board
8 1/2 x 14 7/8 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Jean Cocteau's Blood of a Poet
n.d.
mixed media on board
14 1/2 x 27 1/8 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

À Nous La Liberté
n.d.
mixed media on board
8 3/4 x 15 1/4 inches
© The Jess Collins Trust

Press Release

Jess Movie Posters and Selected Works

February 4 – March 19, 2016

The Tibor de Nagy Gallery is pleased to present its fifth exhibition of works by the celebrated painter and collage artist Jess (Collins), a leading light of the 1950s Bay Area renaissance of artists and poets, and one of the most original American artists of the second half of the 20th century. The exhibition will include collages, paintings and a group of movie posters that he made for the New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who was his close friend. Many of them are being exhibited for the first time ever. The exhibition will present a range of works from the 1950s to the 1990s, including major paintings (Translations), and collages (Paste-ups).

In 1951 a two screen art house opened called the Cinema Guild and Studio on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, just south of the university campus. Kael’s imaginative, unexpected pairing of films, along with her booking of many unfamiliar European titles, soon attracted devoted and enthusiastic audiences. She designed and had painted a program guide featuring her lively and informative comments on the upcoming films. In the fall of 1956, Jess began helping at the theaters. Seventeen of Jess’s hand-lettered and painted posters have survived. He created a new fresh lettering for every movie, and each was done in the style of the film featured, even if he hadn’t seen it. Fourteen of his posters are included in the exhibition

Jess is best known for his paste-ups and paintings that he referred to as his “salvages,” “translations,” and “romantic paintings.” His paste-ups are complicated Surrealist collages assembled using magazines, photographs, and any other material at hand. The “translations,” which comprise thirty-two paintings completed over thirty years, borrow images from a range of sources, including scientific illustrations, childhood photographs, and postcards. He used the term “salvages” for those works he created on paintings he found at thrift stores, or unfinished canvases of his own.

Born Burgess Collins in Long Beach, California, he initially studied chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. He spent three years in the army at the Atomic Energy Laboratory, and had a small part in the Manhattan Project developing the first atom bomb. While working on an atomic energy project, he became disillusioned with science after having a nightmare about the world destroying itself, and instead turned to art.

Jess studied painting at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). His teachers included some of the most influential West Coast painters of the period, including David Park, Elmer Bischoff, and Clyfford Still. During this time, Jess met poet Robert Duncan, who would become his lifelong partner and frequent collaborator. They were an influential force in the San Francisco artistic community, who brought together painters and poets and organized exhibitions and readings.