Big Evening

425.00

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

Only 1 left in stock

Description

Big Evening is a hyperactive tableau depicting a cavalcade of misshapen, multi-eyed mutants with bonus body parts. A limited-edition, archival-quality fine art print of this 1960 Flora painting. The previously uncirculated work was first published in the 2009 book The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora.

Produced by Flora archivist Barbara Economon, the prints have been meticulously replicated from the original work using state-of-the-art digital technology. A high-resolution scan was made of the original work, a tempera on paper mounted on masonite. All elements of the original artwork—with Flora’s signature and date at the lower right—have been retained. The existing work embodies two colors: black and sepia. The sepia is likely an aging artifact, reflecting several decades of exposure to light, climate, and cigarette smoke; we suspect (but cannot confirm) that these areas were originally white. The sepia has been retained, but the black areas—somewhat faded in the original—have been intensified for the print, providing a strong contrast with the figures. Which is to say, the print looks more vivid than the half century-old original.

Only twenty-five prints (+proofs) of Big Evening were produced for this edition. Each print is numbered in the lower right corner and titled in the lower left beneath the image, and authenticated on the reverse with the stamped seal of Jim Flora Art (a Flora family enterprise). Price of this print will increase for subsequent prints as the edition depletes.

The image area is 7-7/8″ high x 20″ wide—slightly larger than the original work—on an untrimmed sheet 17″ high x 22″ wide. The unframed prints are on heavyweight (310g) mould-made William Turner stock, a natural white, 100% rag paper with a fine toothy surface manufactured by Hahnemühle, who are renowned for premium-grade archival papers. The edition was produced using Epson UltraChrome K3 Pigment Ink Technology, resulting in brilliant, velvety color and offering excellent longevity and durability.

Due to the fine art print’s higher-resolution process, as well as superior paper, inks, and quality control, the colors in the print appear brighter, crisper, and more vibrant than the online image. Online color appearance may vary slightly depending on your monitor settings.

Jim-Flora-1950s-photo-bioJim Flora, United States Of America, (1914 Bellefontaine, Ohio - 1998 Rowayton, Connecticut)

James (Jim) Flora is best-known for his wild jazz and classical album covers for Columbia Records (late 1940s) and RCA Victor (1950s). 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. He was not averse to pigmenting jazz legends Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa like bedspread patterns. 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.

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.

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. For more information about Jim Flora Chusid and Economon have published three anthologies of his art with Fantagraphics Books: The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora, The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora, and The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora. 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.