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Jim Dine, The Die-Maker, a drawing in charcoal, heightened with white

© 2000 Jim Dine


Height: 921.000 mm
Width: 749.000 mm

PD 1979-12-15-19

Prints and Drawings

    Jim Dine, The Die-Maker, a drawing in charcoal, heightened with white

    United States of America, AD 1975

    In 1971 Jim Dine (born 1935) decided to return to America after almost five years as an expatriate artist living in London. He settled in a studio in rural Putney, Vermont where he deliberately turned his back on Pop Art and took up drawing the human figure in earnest. This portrait of the artist comes from a series of large-scale drawings made either from life or photographs from 1974-75. The subjects were usually his wife, friends or, as in this case, himself. As seen here, the drawings were carefully built up with much overlaying and rubbing out of the charcoal. The die-maker in the title refers to Dine's die-grinder tool which he often uses to create his etchings.

    This portrait served as the preparatory drawing for the etching of the same title in a suite of eight prints called Eight Sheets from an Undefined Novel. The series was made in 1976 and were based on his figure drawings. The eight figurative etchings suggested eight characters in search of a narrative. Dine appears as two of the characters while four are nudes with erotic echoes of Balthus, an artist he admired at the time. The British Museum has a complete set of hand-coloured etchings, together with a second version produced in 1979 from the same plates after reworking with the die-grinder. With the exception of a single etching which was already in the collection, all fifteen prints were presented by the artist, together with White Owl (for Alan), a monumental intaglio print made from a cardboard plate in 1994.

    M. Livingstone, Jim Dine: the alchemy of image (New York, Monacelli Press, 1998)

    C.W. Glenn, Jim Dine: figure drawings, 197 (New York, Harper and Row, 1979)


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