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 James Denmark  (1936 - )

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Lived/Active: Florida      Known for: watercolors, collage, woodcuts

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Ad Code: 3
James Denmark
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Savageau Gallery:
James Denmark was born in Winter Haven, Florida on March 23, 1936 into a family of artists. He was exposed to color and form at an early age by his grandmother, a wire sculptor and quilt artist, by his grandfather, a bricklayer noted for his unique custom design molds and his mother who was gifted with an intuitive feeling for design and a fastidiousness for detail, which she expressed in all aspects of her daily life.  This rich beginning is the root of James Denmark’s creative expression.

He attended Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida on a sports scholarship.  While pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at FAMU, Denmark came under the tutelage of the artist and acclaimed African-American art historian, Dr. Samella Lewis, who exposed him to the great traditions and accomplishments of the African-American art movement.  After graduating from FAMU, Denmark moved to Brooklyn, New York and began a career as an art teacher in the public school system.

From 1973 to 1976, Denmark earned his Master of Fine Arts Degree at the Pratt Institute of Fine Arts in New York.  While at Pratt, Denmark met and was nurtured by an immensely talented community of artists. During this period he was heavily influenced by the Abstract Expressionists and admired such mainstream artists as Jackson Pollock, Clifford Still, William deKooning.  The African-American masters Norman Lewis, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Ernest Crichlow instilled in him an appreciation of African/American artistic heritage. "So much richness reinforced my natural talents," Denmark says of his growth at Pratt.  He likens it to picking up a baton and carrying it to the next leg---his collages.

Denmark’s work underwent a stylistic transition at this time, and he began experimenting with collage.  Prior to this period, he worked primarily in watercolors and charcoal.

Denmark has a natural affinity for the difficult and largely improvisational medium of collage and quickly developed his own unique and easily identifiable style.  With brightly handcolored papers, fabric and objects, Denmark intends to creates compositions that go beyond the superficial and transitory and focuses, instead, on what is eternal and universal.

Denmark’s collages, watercolors, woodcuts and reproductions are consistently and eagerly sought by galleries and collectors worldwide.  He has had over 60 one-man exhibitions and has participated in a number of group shows. His level of acclaim is reflected in the number of prestigious collections in which his works are represented, most notable that of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

James Denmark lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York and now resides in Yemassee, South Carolina.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts - Massachusetts
Brooklyn Museum - Brooklyn, New York
Contemporary Arts Museum - Houston, Texas
Everson Museum of Art - Syracuse, New York
Flint Institute of Art - Flint, Michigan
High Museum of Art - Atlanta, Georgia
Lever House - New York, New York
Minneapolis Institute of Art - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design -
  Providence, Rhode Island
Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building -
  New York, New York
Orozco Chapel - Guadalajara, Mexico
San Francisco Museum of Art - San Francisco, CA

1993 - CSAP National Resource Center; Poster
1989 - EMI Recording Company; Record Album for Diane Reeves
1987 - New York Urban League; Lithograph
1987 - National Black Bar Association; Collage
1980 - Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Commemorative Poster

1987 - 39th Annual Printing Industy Award given by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
1980 - The Living Legends Award presented by the National Urban League

"...James Denmark is adept in many media - not only the familiar watercolors and collages, but also sculpture... The gentleness in his watercolor is matched by the strength and excitement in his collages...

He focuses on basic themes of love, family, the male and the female, yet he has the ability to go back to these themes each time with a renewed vitality."

Peg Alston
New York, New York

"...James Denmark has plunged himself, heart and soul into his craft and as a technician he has mastered the difficult medium of collages. However, his importance as an artist reaches far beyond that. His work reveals a deep commitment to restoring us to our dignity as human beings and as a race. His characteristic use of women as his subject speaks to another central preoccupation - that of elevating black womanhood and fostering a new and deeper perception of Beauty"

Byrma Braham
Art Director
Savacou Gallery, New


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