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 John Paul Jones  (1924 - 1999)

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Lived/Active: California/Iowa/Oregon      Known for: figurative painting, printmaking, drawing and sculpture, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
John Paul Jones
from Auction House Records.
Untitled (Head)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was provided in June of 2006 by Jon Herman of Norfolk, Virginia:

John Paul Jones was born in Indianola, Iowa on November 18, 1924.  After graduation from high school in 1943, he was drafted in the army where he served with a field artillery battery in the Far East campaign.  Being eligible for the G.I. bill, he enrolled in the summer of 1946 as a freshman at the State University of Iowa campus at Iowa City.  By his own admission,  his concept of art was very limited.

In the fall of 1948, he studied print-making under the auspices of Mauricio Lasansky, an internationally-known print maker, who was teaching at the time.  After much work and guidance, Lasansky helped him tone in on print-making, especially etching, which became his primary means of his early art expression.

After graduation in 1949 with a B.F.A. degree, he continued to work on a Masters degree.  He was invited by Lasansky to continue under his tutelage, which he did until 1951 when he graduated.

Destined for New York,  he was offered at the last minute, a chance to teach at the University of Oklahoma, where he chose to teach drawing and art history. The next year, he returned back to the University of Iowa as an instructor. In 1953, he moved to the University of California Los Angeles, where he established UCLA' s print department.  Jones stayed at the University until 1963, when he resigned to devote full-time to his art.

After receiving the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in creative printmaking, he traveled to Europe, where he was profundly effected by the works of such artists as Jan Van Eyck and Piero Della Franccesca.  On his second trip to Europe, Redon and Giacometti appeared as major influences, which was probably the most important phase of his creative life.

In matters of technique, Jones shifted from printmaking to drawing/painting. During those years, he preferred to use composition board or paper glued on board, as a backing material because of the hard, resisting quality, which was like the printmaker's metal plate.  Thus, he turned his wide knowledge of learned and invented intaglio methods (blotting, burnishing, scratching, dotting) into his painter's tools. He used casein rather than oil paint as a medium because of its quick drying properties and because it could be reworked easier.  In essence, his drawings could pass for complex intaglio prints.

Source: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, exhibition catalog: John Paul Jones, Painting and Sculpture 1955-1965, which ran from November 26- December 26, 1965

Works in Public Collections:
Ball State Teachers College, Muncie, Indiana;
Blanden Memorial Art Gallery, Fort Dodge, Iowa;
Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois;
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York;
California State Fair Collection, Sacremento, California;
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Texas;
Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa;
Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, San Diego, California;
Iowa State Fair Collection, Des Moines, Iowa;
Iowa Wesleyan College, Mt Pleasant, Iowa;
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska;
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan;
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas;
La Jolla Art Center, La Jolla, California;
Library of Congress,  Washington, DC;
Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, California;
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan;
Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York;
Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York;
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.;
William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art, Kansas City, Missouri;
The New York Public Library, New York, New York;
Oakland Art Museum, Oakland, Museum;
Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, California;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California;
San Francisco Museum of art, San Francisco, California;
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California;
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington;
Texas Western College, El Paso, Texas;
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana;
University of California at Los Angeles, California;
University of Florida, Gainsville, Florida;
University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois;
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa;
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska;
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin;
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota;
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut;
Youngstown University, Youngstown, Ohio.

Exhibitions and Awards:

Bradley University National Print annual: First Prize.
The Brooklyn Museum Fifth National Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
Des Moines Art Center, Iowa Artists Annual Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
Iowa State Fair Art Salon: First Prize
Seattle Art Museum, Northwest printmakers International Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Scholarship. Prize.

Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Fifth Southwestern Print and Drawing Annual: Purchase Prize.
Walker Art Center, Biennial Exhibition of Paintings and Prints: First Prize in Prints.

The Brooklyn Museum Seventh National Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, First National Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
Des Moines Art Center, Iowa Artists Annual Exhibition: First Award in Prints.
Museum Of Modern Art, Young American Printmakers: Purchase Prize.
The Print Club of Philadelphia, Thirteenth Annual Exhibition of Etching: Honorable Mention.

Bradley University, National Print Annual: Purchase Prize.
The Brooklyn Museum Eighth National Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
University of Illinois, Graphic Arts USA: purchase Prize.
Walker Art Center, Biennial Exhibition of Painting and Prints: Purchase Prize.

Oakland Art Museum, Western Sculpture and Print Exhibition: First Award and Guest of Honor One-Man show.
Seattle Art Museum, Northwestern Printmakers International Print Exhibition: Special Honorable Mention.
Texas Western College, First National Graphics Exhibition: Purchase Prize.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Printmakers Eight Annual Exhibit: Sachs-Allen Award.
Butler Art Institute, College Prints 1956: Purchase Prize.
Michigan State University, National Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
Museum Of Modern Art, New York, Recent Drawings, USA.: Purchase Prize.
Oakland Art Museum, Bay Printmakers Second National Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
University of Illinois, 50 Contemporary Printmakers: Purchase Prize.

Library of Congress Annual Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
The Print Club of Philadelphia, 34th Annual Etching and Engraving Exhibition: Honorable Mention.
San Francisco Museum of Art, Annual watercolor, Drawing, and Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.

Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles and Vicinity Exhibition: Purchase Prize.
Pasadena art Museum, National Print Exhibition: Purchase Prize.

The Coliseum, New York City, Art U.S.A.: Grand Prize in Graphics.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Third Pacific Coast Biennial Exhibition of Drawings and Sculpture: Purchase Award.

John Paul Jones, Prints and Drawings 1948-1963
,  published by the Brooklyn Museum, 1963.  Text by Una E. Johnson, Curator of Prints and Drawings, the Brooklyn Museum.

Other Exhibition Catalogs:
Brooklyn, New York, The Brooklyn Museum. Ten Years of American Prints 1947-1956 (exhibition catalog), 1956, text by Una E. Johnson, pp.44-46. Reissued in 1961 with new title and cover: What is a Modern Print?

Oakland, California. Oakland Art Museum. Bay Printmakers Society 1st National Exhibition of Prints, (exhibition catalog), 1955

Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles County Museum. Prints by Adams and Jones, (exhibition catalog). 1955

Binghamton, New York, State University. Harper College. Champlain Gallery. Graphics: John Paul Jones (exhibition catalog) October 17-November17, 1965.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is the obituary of the artist, Los Angeles Times, October 9, 1999

John Paul Jones; Painter, Sculptor, Educator

John Paul Jones, a painter, sculptor and art educator who established the printmaking department at UCLA and taught for many years at UC Irvine, has died.

Jones, 74, died Sept. 25 at his home in Ashland, Ore., of complications from emphysema.

A multifaceted artist, Jones first gained national recognition in the 1960s with his figurative prints, drawings and paintings. In the 1980s, he turned to stark, spare sculptures in wood and bronze.

"Meticulous, almost obsessive craftsmanship and spare formality dominate in John Paul Jones' wood sculptures. . . . Each reads as a fusion of functional craftsmanship and cool minimalism," a Times reviewer commented when Jones first showed his wood sculptures at the TLK Gallery in Costa Mesa in 1982.

When Jones' work in various media was exhibited at the Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park in 1984, art historian Susan C. Larsen wrote for the catalog:

"[Jones' imagery] announces itself in a whisper, and [his] incisive line and lush, somber tones speak eloquently in a voice resonant with maturity. His work accrues its power through taut understatement. Jones focuses our attention not by a simple reduction of elements but by a thoughtful refinement of form and image."

The same year, Times art critic William Wilson described Jones as an artist "who long ignored fashion in favor of pursuing the intrinsic demands of art."

The critic evaluated Jones as "a respected artist and teacher hereabouts for nearly three decades" and "one of those talents . . . widely revered among students and peers, professionally active and yet never quite publicly prominent."

Touring the Barnsdall exhibit, Wilson concluded: "The most common mood of Jones' individual works is laconic calm. . . . Every move is exquisite."

Henry Hopkins, former director of the UCLA Armand Hammer Museum, called Jones "a very important figure here in the '50s and '60s" and one of the first Los Angeles artists to have an exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Hopkins added that Jones was considered an extraordinary teacher by many professional artists, including the late Richard Diebenkorn. "He was a great influence on Diebenkorn," Hopkins said.

A native of Indianola, Iowa, Jones entered Simpson College there as a pre-engineering major.  He interrupted his studies to serve in the Army in the South Pacific during World War II.  Later he earned a master's degree at the University of Iowa, writing his thesis on printmaking.

Aided by several fellowship awards, Jones lived and created for a time in Europe.

In addition to UCLA and UC Irvine, he had taught at the University of Oklahoma and Iowa State University.  Jones also exhibited at such places as the Brooklyn Museum of Art and its European traveling exhibit, the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Southern California in Laguna Beach and the UC Irvine Fine Arts Gallery.

Jones is survived by his companion, Susanne Nestory; a son, Shawn Jones of Niantic, Conn.; a daughter, Leah Jones of Tampa, Fla.; and one granddaughter. Another daughter, Megan Hart Jones, a promising artist, died of cancer at 20 in 1989.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Megan Hart Jones Fund at Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

A memorial observance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Fullerton College Art Gallery, 321 E. Chapman Ave. The gallery will stage an exhibition of Jones' work Wednesday through Nov. 11.


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