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 James (Jim) Mickelson  (1926 - 1998)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Iowa      Known for: land-and seascape painting, scenes of Newburyport

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jim Mickelson (1926-1998)

He was born in Thief River Falls, Iowa on April 27, 1926, a couple of years before the stock market crash.  Jim was the oldest of three children and enlisted in the Marines right out of high school.  A 1944 graduate of Clarion High School, he served the next two and a half years as a Marine in the South Pacific where he first began sketching.  After the war, he attended college in Iowa, and then attended the Los Angeles County Art Institute in California.  He studied at Mexico City College for a year before traveling to Sante Fe, New Mexico where he joined workshops and eventually began selling his artwork in Taos.

Eventually he settled in New England, in Rockport in the late 1960's where he raised a family with his first wife Barbara Armstrong, opened his own gallery on Tuna Wharf, and was a member of the Rockport Art Association. 

He served as a combat artist in Vietnam, and traveled to Haiti to paint the people there.  In the 1970s, he owned and operated Santiago's Gallery in Newburyport, Massachusetts and was the longtime companion of the artist Pamela Pearce.  He had a gallery in Provincetown on Cape Cod and his works were shown  in New York City, Palm Springs, California, Sarasota and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Mickelson was one of the beloved local artists, befriended by both business owners and their patrons, never quite in control of events, yet never letting that stop him from chronicling through his paintings the people and scenery he loved so much.  Whether it was the sailboats tacking upwind off Plum Island, or the polo players at the Myopia Hunt Club and Saratoga, the fishing boats tied up in the river or the folks sitting barside in their favorite watering hole; it was Duncan Chase, street captain, homeless and omniscient.  His paintings came alive in Newburyport.

James B. Mickelson died at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire on Tuesday, March 24, 1998.

Sources include:
SmartArtMarket
Obituary. The Daily News, Newburyport, Massachusetts (March 26, 1998)

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