- Museum number
- Object: Five Paintbrushes (sixth state)
Row of ten paintbrushes of various sizes placed as though hanging on a wall. 1973
Etching, aquatint and drypoint in black-green ink on Murillo paper
- Production date
Height: 356 millimetres (plate)
Height: 698 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 1003 millimetres
Width: 692 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Edition of 25 with 5 Artist's Proofs, printed by Alan Uglow and Winton Roeth and published by Petersburg Press, New York.
'Five Paintbrushes (sixth state)' comes from a series of six prints made from a single plate. The first state edition had five paintbrushes evenly spaced across a 597x902mm plate. For the second state edition, Dine added six brushes and cut 96mm from the right edge of the plate.
For the third state, 76mm was cut from the top of the plate, 114mm from the right edge of the plate, the bristles of the brushes were made fuller by additional etching and drypoint lines, and marks were added around the handles with an electric drill sander. For the fourth state, 45mm was cut from the top and 120mm from the bottom of the plate, and soft ground texture was added to provide a grey background tone and texture on the brush handles. The fifth state had drypoint and etched lines added to the background, and the sixth state was pulled in black-green ink.
From the early 1960s the American artist Jim Dine developed his subjects of the paintbrush, the bathrobe, and studio tools as symbols of his persona, what he called an 'autobiography through objects'.
Text from Coppel, Daunt and Tallman, 'The American Dream: pop to the present', London: Thames and Hudson in association with the British Museum, 2017, cat. no. 38 (with cat. nos 36 and 37, 'Five Paintbrushes (first state)' and 'Five Paintbrushes (third state)':
The paintbrush, the artist’s most obvious tool, became one of Dine’s most persistent subjects. The various transformations of 'Five Paintbrushes' from the same plate are among his most celebrated etchings. At each stage an edition was printed; these were published by Petersburg Press, initially in London and then in New York. The etching began with five regularly spaced paintbrushes, different in size and shape, hanging in a line. Six additional brushes were interposed in the spaces between the original five paintbrushes in the second state. For the third state (cat. 37), the bristles of the brushes were lengthened and made fuller by adding more etching and drypoint lines, the hairs appearing almost to twitch and sprout. The plate itself was cut in size at the top and from the right side, reducing the number of brushes to ten (although the original title of 'Five Paintbrushes' was retained). Texture was added to the area around the handles with an electric sander. In the fourth state the plate was further reduced in size at top and bottom, a grey background tone was added with soft-ground, and an aquatint applied to give a darker mottled effect on the handles. In the fifth state etched and drypoint lines further darkened the background. The final sixth state (cat. 38) was the same in all respects as the previous one except that it was printed in a black-green ink. Exploring the metamorphosis of the image through printmaking, Dine called 'Five Paintbrushes' ‘my first example of a serial image, building on a plate, building and changing it in states, like Picasso'. (Jim Dine, 'A Printmaker’s Document', Gottingen: Steidl, 2013, p. 65.)
Text from 'Living with art: The Alexander Walker collection' (British Museum Press, 2020):
Dine produced this large-scale etching in six editioned states, of which this is the last. Over the course of this series, the image evolved from five paintbrushes to ten, the plate was trimmed on three sides, tone and texture were added to the background and the bristles of the brushes became longer and fuller. The final state is the same as the fifth, except that it was printed in a green-black ink, rather than just black. The first state was printed by Maurice Payne and published by Petersburg Press in London, and the rest were printed by Alan Uglow and Winston Roeth and published by Petersburg Press in New York.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2004-2005 Jun-Jan, BM, Matisse to Freud: The Alexander Walker Bequest
2006 Oct-Dec, Lincoln, Usher Gallery, (Sth Bank Tour), Matisse to Freud
2007 Jan-Mar, Leicester, New Walk (Sth Bank Tour), Matisse to Freud
2007 Mar-May, Leeds, Harewood House, (Sth Bank Tour), Matisse to Freud
2007 Jul-Sep, Gateshead, Shipley AG, (Sth Bank Tour), Matisse to Freud
2017 9 Mar-18 Jun, London, BM, G30, The American Dream
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased by Alexander Walker from the Alan Cristea Gallery, London for £9,813.60 on 9/8/00 (framed).
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number