Original Pop Art Pioneer To Mark UK Return With Appearance At Birmingham Gallery

One of the pioneers of the American Pop Art movement, James Francis Gill, will appear at a Birmingham gallery next week to mark his return to the UK after 54 years.

Gill, who is one of the last surviving American Pop Artists, will be at Castle Fine Art in the International Convention Centre (ICC) on Thursday 11th April, from 6pm until 8pm. The event is part of the artist’s first six date UK tour since 1965 and will see him showcase his collection, The Return of James Francis Gill.

Celebrated for his fresh, futuristic images, Gill was one of the leading pioneers of the pop art movement when the revolution really gained speed in the 1960s. His groundbreaking work took many different forms, with a painterly style compared to Francis Bacon, and photographic black and white acrylics which even superseded influential German painter, Gerhard Richter. His mix of photographic figurative art combined with abstract compositions had never been seen or done before.

Gill captures the American Dream through intimate portraits of stars including Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan and Grace Kelly. Born in Texas, he studied architecture at university, before moving to Los Angeles in 1962, where he caught the eye of Felix Landau – one of the most respected art dealers on the East and West coast. It was in this year that Gill’s now prestigious ‘Marilyn Triptych’ was acquired by New York’s Museum of Modern Art, years before his then peers, including Andy Warhol, graced its walls.

Following a long list of commissions by Time Magazine, celebrity collectors and an international breakthrough at the Sao Paulo 9 Biennale (1967) alongside Warhol and Lichtenstein, Gill went into self-imposed exile in 1972 to develop his artistic expression away from the constraints of the material world.

Speaking ahead of his appearance in Birmingham, James Francis Gill said: “For me it is absolutely exciting to return to Great Britain after so many years. I am happy that my works are shown here, because here art has always played an important role in people’s lives – just like in mine.”

Beth McCarthy, gallery manager at Castle Fine Art, The ICC, said: “We are incredibly privileged to be working with James on his momentous return to the UK and the release of his collection here in Birmingham.

“James’ art remains as exciting and relevant as ever, and the opportunity to be in the presence of such an icon is one not to be missed. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the gallery to meet the man himself and hear the many fascinating stories from his career to date.”

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