A collection of single sheets, portfolios and illustrated books are among over 200 prints gifted by American artist Jim Dine to The British Museum’s Prints and Drawings collection.
Saw, 1976, etching, by Jim Dine.
Covering Dine’s career from the 1960s to the present-day, this magnificent addition to the American print collection at The British Museum consolidates an earlier gift of sixteen prints made by the artist in 1999.
A particular focus of Dine’s gift is the period from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when his persistent imagery emerged, notably the bathrobes, tools, hearts and paintbrushes. These motifs began as stand-ins for the artist, what he called an ‘autobiography through objects’, and gave him the licence to do what he wanted with them, in different variations and improvisations.
The tools that appear in his work are heavily imbued with a personal and emotional resonance. ‘When I use objects, I see them as a vocabulary of feelings’, he declared in 1970.
From 1967 to 1971 Dine lived and worked in London. A peripatetic artist and a compulsive printmaker, he has sought out print workshops all over the world. Many of his prints were made with Petersburg Press in London and New York as well
as with Atelier Crommelynck in Paris and New York. The gift also includes later work, including self-portraits and his most recent portfolio, A History of Communism, from lithographic stones recovered from former East Germany and overlaid with his own etchings.
19 of the prints will be on display until mid-June this year. The display of monumental bathrobes, hairy paintbrushes, pulsating hearts and erect life-size tools offers a foretaste of works to be included in The British Museum’s major upcoming modern American prints exhibition in 2017.