The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora

La Fiambrera Art Gallery is honored to exhibit—in Spain for the first time—the work of American illustrator, author, and fine artist Jim Flora. The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora presents his legendary 1940s album sleeves for Columbia Records and 1950s LP covers for RCA Victor. Flora created an idiosyncratic visual language while pioneering a stylish alternative to illustrative music art. Since the 2004 publication of The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora (by Fantagraphics), the first of four volumes dedicated to his work, his wild covers have become iconic examples of midcentury commercial art, and his style has influenced countless artists, illustrators, cartoonists and graphic designers.

Cartel-expo-Jim-Flora-OK

 The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora presents a definitive survey of his record jacket work, in which he mischievously weaves his paintbrush through the worlds of Jazz, Classical and Latin music. Every square inch of real estate on the canvas is occupied with activity. About these manic, busy tableaus, Flora confessed that he “couldn’t stand a static space.” Everything is in motion: the extravagant post-Cubist creatures dance, twist, jump and bounce. These mutant figures have bedspread-tinted skin and bonus limbs. Flora had a knack for grooving with a paintbrush, making art to which you can tap your toes and snap your fingers.

This show exhibits most of the original sleeves Flora illustrated between 1946 and 1961. These original artifacts are from the private collection of Irwin Chusid, Flora biographer, archivist, and curator. The album covers in The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora are accompanied by serigraphs, giclées, and woodcuts published over the past two decades, including limited edition proofs of works which are sold out.

Jim Flora once said that all he wanted to do was “create a little piece of excitement.” He overshot his goal with much of his work.


Artist biography

James (Jim) Flora is best-known for his wild jazz and classical album covers for Columbia Records and RCA Victor (late 1940s to late 1950s), but he authored and illustrated 17 popular children’s books and flourished for decades as a magazine illustrator. At the time, few knew that Flora was also a prolific fine artist with a devilish sense of humor and a flair for juxtaposing playfulness, absurdity and violence. Cute — and deadly. 

Flora’s album covers pulsed with angular hepcats bearing funnel-tapered noses and shark-fin chins who fingered cockeyed pianos and honked lollipop-hued horns. Yet this childlike exuberance was subverted by a tinge of the diabolic. Flora wreaked havoc with the laws of physics, conjuring flying musicians, levitating instruments, and wobbly dimensional perspectives. Taking liberties with human anatomy, he drew bonded bodies and misshapen heads, while inking ghoulish skin tints and grafting mutant appendages. On some Flora figures, three legs and five arms were standard equipment, with spare eyeballs optional. His fine art works reflect the same comic yet disturbing qualities. 

Born in Bellefontaine, Ohio, in 1914, James Flora was trained at the Art Academy of Cincinnati (1936-39). After struggling as a commercial freelancer, in 1942 he moved to Connecticut after accepting a job in the Columbia Records art department. One year later the label appointed him art director. Flora revolutionized the look of Columbia’s ads and retail circulars with his wild cartoonish illustrations. He was promoted several times, and though no longer art director, he began illustrating jazz album covers for the label in 1947. However, his executive chores with the company meant less opportunity to create art. In 1950, Flora resigned and moved to Mexico with his family. After 15 months of exotic life south of the border, during which he and his wife created a mountain of art, Flora returned to Connecticut in 1951. He embarked on a lengthy and prosperous career as a freelance commercial artist, children’s book author/illustrator, and album cover designer for RCA Victor. Despite the demanding deadlines, Flora found time to indulge his fine art impulses. He painted, sketched, created woodcuts, and made relief prints at home and during travels. Even in retirement, and particularly during the decade before his death in July 1998, he created an enormous body of work. 

La Fiambrera Art Gallery is proud to present James Flora’s mischievous art to public thru his fine art prints, serigraph prints, and woodcuts, by special arrangement with the Jim Flora Estate and co-archivists Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon.



jim-flora-pack-tarjetas-Dig-You-Later
Pack de 4 Tarjetas “Dig You Later”

4 postcards featuring classic Flora figures with musical themes from the 1940s and 1950s.
15.5 x 11.5cm

55.00
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jim-flora-Mardi-Gras-Quartet-pink
Mardi Gras Quartet (Rosa)

1950 (date of original work)
3 colors silk screen print
Limited edition of 125
19 x 23,5 cm

40.00
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jim-flora-Mardi-Gras-Quartet-blue
Mardi Gras Quartet (Azul)

1950 (date of original work)
3 colors silk screen print
Limited edition of 125
19 x 23,5 cm

40.00
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jim-flora-Mardi-Gras-Quartet-red
Mardi Gras Quartet (Rojo)

1950 (date of original work)
3 colors silk screen print
Limited edition of 125
19 x 23,5 cm

40.00
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jim-flora-Mardi-Gras-Quartet-white
Mardi Gras Quartet (Blanco)

1950 (date of original work)
3 colors silk screen print
Limited edition of 125
19 x 23,5 cm

40.00
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incred.flutist-1
The Incredible Flutist

2008 (date of print)
1954 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Limited edition of 20
48 x 33 cm

250.00
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benny-goodman-1
This is Benny Goodman

2007 (date of print)
1955 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Limited edition of 20
48 x 33 cm

290.00
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lord-buckley-1
Lord Buckley

2008 (date of print)
1955 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Artist proof PP:1/2, 2/2
33 x 48 cm

1,000.00
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spectators-940x436
Spectators

2016 (date of print)
1945 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Limited edition of 25
43 x 55,8 cm

260.00
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Krupa
Gene Krupa

2008 (date of print)
1947 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
PP: 2/5, 5/5
33 x 48 cm

535.00
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Pete-Jolly-Duo
Pete Jolly Duo

1955 (date of original work)
Screen print
Limited edition of 125
51 x 51 cm

200.00
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jim-flora-Railroad-Town
Railroad Town

2007 (date of print)
1951 (date of original work)
Woodcut
Limited edition of 50
47,5 x 76,5 cm

1,070.00
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jim-flora-Canoe-Critters
Canoe Critters

2008 (date of print)
1965 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Limited edition of 100
43 x 28 cm

125.00
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jim-flora-Charles-Mother-Has-Come-to-Stay
Charles, Mother Has Come to Stay

2012 (date of print)
1960 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Limited edition of 25
28 x 43 cm

290.00
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jim-flora-Charlies-Egg
Charlie’s Egg

2009 (date of print)
1943 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Limited edition of 25
55,8 x 43 cm

270.00
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Inside-Sauter-Finegan
Inside Sauter-Finegan

2011 (date of print)
1954 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Limited edition of 25
55,8 x 43 cm

320.00
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Kid-Ory
Kid Ory

2009 (date of print)
1947 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Limited edition of 20
55,8 x 43 cm

370.00
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Bix-&-Tram
Bix and Tram

2012 (date of print)
1947 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
PP: 1/5
43 x 55,8 cm

670.00
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Louis-Armstrong
Louis Armstrong’s Hot 5

2009 (date of print)
1947 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
H.C. 1/1
55,8 x 43 cm

1,000.00
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jim-flora-Uruapan-print
Uruapan

2022 (date of print)
Late 60’s (date of original work)
Digital print giclée on Hahnemühle 310 g paper
Limited edition of 20 copies plus proofs, numbered and stamped
43.2 x 55.9 cm

220.00
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jim-flora-Chioggia
Chioggia

2022 (date of print)
Mid 1962’s (date of original work)
Digital print giclée on Hahnemühle 310 g paper
Limited edition of 20 copies plus proofs, numbered and stamped
43.2 x 55.9 cm

220.00
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jim-Flora_The-Five-Spot
The Five Spot

2008 (date of print)
1964 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 25
33 x 48 cm

255.00
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jim-Flora_The-Big-Bank-Robbery
The Big Bank Robbery

2009 (date of print)
Mid 1960’s (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Artist proof. Edition of 30
33 x 48 cm

800.00
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jim-Flora_Tenement-K
Tenement K

2013 (date of print)
1940 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 40
56 x 43 cm

335.00
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jim-Flora_Rowayton-Creature-tableau
Rowayton Creature Tableau

2011 (date of print)
1970 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 25
33 x 48 cm

270.00
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jim-Flora_Rialto
Rialto

2021 (date of print)
1950 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 35
43 x 56 cm

240.00
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Portofino

2018 (date of print)
1962 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 20
33 x 48 cm

215.00
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jim-Flora_Mambo-For-Cats
Mambo For Cats

2013 (date of print)
1955 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 200
48 x 33 cm

225.00
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jim-Flora_Manhattan-red
Manhattan Red

2008 (date of print)
1954 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 25
33 x 48 cm

670.00
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jim-Flora_Manhattan-blue
Manhattan Blue

2008 (date of print)
1954 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 25
33 x 48 cm

535.00
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jim-Flora_Little-Rock-Getaway
Little Rock Getaway

2010 (date of print)
Late 1960’s (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 25
21,5 x 56 cm

270.00
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jim-Flora_Jugglers
Jugglers

2008
Engraving on paper
Edition of 50
38 x 38 cm

335.00
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jim-Flora_Jazz-Quintet
Jazz Quintet

2007 (date of print)
1943 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
H.C. 2/5
48 x 33 cm

1,135.00
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jim-Flora_Harbor-63
Harbor 63

2021 (date of print)
1963 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 20
43 x 28 cm
This one avaliable copy is custom framed. Measurements framed 40 x 50 cm

300.00
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jim-Flora_Gunfight-on-the-roof
Gunfight On The Roof

2008 (date of print)
1951 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 25
43 x 56 cm

400.00
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jim-Flora_G3-in-Tampico
G3 in Tampico

2010 (date of print)
1970 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Edition of 25
28 x 43 cm

255.00
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jim-Flora_Ferris-Wheel-Fireworks
Ferris Wheel Fireworks

2010 (date of print)
1957 (date of original work)
Digital print giclée
Artist proof. Edition of 30
33 x 48 cm

800.00
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jim-Flora_Entangled-Couple
Entangled Couple

2008 (date of print)
1965 (date of original work)
Serigraphy
Artist proof. Edition of 100
40,5 x 30,5 cm

200.00
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jim-Flora_Chance-Encounter
Chance Encounter

2008 (date of print)
1970 (date of original work)
Digital giclée print
Artist proof. Edition of 20
43 x 56 cm

935.00
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jim-Flora_Big-Evening
Big Evening

2009 (date of print)
1960 (date of original work)
Digital giclée print
Artist proof. Edition of 25
43 x 56 cm

535.00
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jim-Flora_Bell-Island-at-Night
Bell Island At Night

2011 (date of print)
1968 (date of original work)
Digital giclée print
Artist proof. Edition of 30
33 x 48 cm

350.00
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jim-Flora_Barberinni
Barberinni

2021 (date of print)
1962 (date of original work)
Digital giclée print
Edition of 25
33 x 48 cm

200.00
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jim-FLora_Back-To-Bellefontaine
Back To Bellefontaine

2008 (date of print)
1963 (date of original work)
Digital giclée print
Artist proof. Edition of 25
43 x 56 cm

270.00
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jim-Flora_63rd-Street
63rd Street

2007 (date of print)
1951 (date of original work)
Digital giclée print
Artist proof TP3 / 3. Edition of 10
17.8 x 40.6 cm

1,000.00
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  • Title of the exhibition: El Arte en Alta Fidelidad de Jim Flora
  • Artist: Jim Flora
  • Dates: From June 18 to September 3, 2022
  • Curators: La Fiambrera Art Gallery