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Jim Forsberg


Born 1919, Sauk Centre, MN; died 1991, Provincetown, MA.

Studied with Alexander Masley at the Minneapolis School of Art, beginning in 1939, and Cameron Booth at the St. Paul School of Art beginning in 1941. After service in the Pacific in WWII, studied with Booth and Vaclav Vytlacil at the Art Students League in New York beginning in 1946.

From 1946 to 1953 Forsberg had his first New York show at the Ashby Gallery in the village and became a member of "The Printmakers," a group of young artists working in old and new printmaking methods. He made many editions of his cardboard-cut prints and began to work with stone-like shapes in his paintings and prints, a theme which was reinforced by his visit to Stonehenge in 1950 during a trip to England, Holland and France.

Forsberg studied with Hans Hofmann in the fall of 1950 in New York and had a one-man show of paintings and a separate show of prints at the New Gallery. The Printmakers were showing at the Jacques Seligman Gallery that year.

After a productive summer of painting in Provincetown, Forsberg had a second one-man exhibit at the New Gallery in 1953. The intense light surrounding the narrow spit of land that was Provincetown attracted him as a place to paint, and in May 1954 he and his family moved into the town which continued to be his home and working location until his death in 1991.

During the fifties he did two commissioned prints for the International Graphic Arts Society. he had one-man shows and representation at the Esther Robles Gallery in Los Angeles. In Provincetown he had shows at the HCE Gallery, the Front Street Gallery, and at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

In 1962 Forsberg had a one-man show at Jacques Seligmann Gallery in New York. He showed with the Provincetown Group Gallery during the sixties. During the seventies he showed at the Hudson D. Walker gallery of the Fine Arts Work Center, the Provincetown Group Gallery and the Tirca Karlis Gallery.

In 1976 he opened the Depot Gallery in Wellfleet, showing his own work and that of other Provincetown artists. his work was becoming more simple; he was using circles in squares, suns and moons and lots of red. He began to make collage with Japanese papers and the circles. Gradually the circles disappeared and the collage took over.

From 1980 to his death Forsberg showed in his studio several times as well as showing with the Provincetown Group Gallery. The Provincetown Art Association and Museum held a retrospective exhibition in 1986 and just before his death Forsberg received critical acclaim for an exhibition in New York, at the Stuart Levy Gallery

Forsberg's work is in many private collections, as well as those of the Musuem of Modern Art, New York City, Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo, Brazil, National Gallery, Washington, DC, Cincinnati Museum, Syracuse University and Smith College.

"So I can say little about these works except that they are. I was present at the scene. Rather arbitrary titles have more to do with catalogues and tracking than providing vital data or enhancement.

I've had a wonderful time wandering along, armed with lore and formal stuff -- encountering a muse or two, while fending off the spooks and welcoming the angels.

I like the dance of space, the strength in balance, the voices of color, the challenge of interval, the mystery of creation, and the promise of possibility."

-- Jim Forsberg, August, 1988

Jim Forsberg

Forsberg, who came from the Middle West, had established himself (after study with Hans Hofmann) in New York before coming to Provincetown in the early 1950s. He became important to the Provincetown art community as the stressed-out manager of the Studio Shop for Laura Easly, the owner.

When he retired from the art supply shop, he was able to concentrate on his career, and a radiant series of works ensued, resplendent in color, cosmic in reach -- to which our example pertains [the red painting].

It was Leonardo’s conundrum: the circle in the square -- an heraldic composition that later opened up as collage took over.
It is good to know that Jim had a successful exhibition at the Stuart Levy Gallery in New York just before his untimely death.



from The Collection of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, March 3-13, 2000, The National Arts Club, New York, NY catalog; Curatorial Notes: Tony Vevers


Painting by Jim Forsberg

Painting by Jim Forsberg. Private collection.



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