The Incredible Flutist

225.00

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

Only 1 left in stock

Description

A limited-edition, archival-quality fine art print of an uncirculated 1953-54 record cover illustration by Jim Flora. The illustration was intended for a 7-inch extended-play (EP) record release entitled The Incredible Flutist/Les Patineurs. According to a purchase order discovered in the Flora archives, the work was commissioned by RCA Victor in late 1953. However, there is no indication that the work was ever finished, accepted, or used on a commercially released EP. (The Incredible Flutist was a ballet suite composed by Walter Piston, and the waltz Les Patineurs was composed by Emile Waldteufel.)

Produced in 2008 by Flora archivist Barbara Economon, the print was meticulously and painstakingly crafted from the original painting — a tempera on board — in the Flora collection. The image area is 11.5″ x 11.5″ (larger than the original 7″ work), and the trim size of the entire sheet is 13″ x 19″. Only 20 prints were produced for this edition. Each print is hand-numbered in the lower right corner beneath the image and authenticated on the reverse with the stamped seal of Jim Flora Art LLC (a Flora family enterprise). Prices will increase as the edition depletes. 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, 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 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.