James Kelly was born and raised in Pennsylvania; he attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, 1937 and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1938. Kelly also attended the Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pennsylvania, 1941, and the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, 1951-1954. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley during the summer of 1957.
Among his awards were the Ford Foundation grant to work at Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Los Angeles, 1963; the National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1977; and the Peter and Madeline Martin Foundation for the Creative Arts grant, 1990.
Selected Exhibitions: The Place, San Francisco, 1954; Action 1 , Merry-Go-Round Building, Santa Monica Pier, 1955; San Francisco Art Association Gallery, California School of Fine Arts, 1956; Stryke Gallery, New York, 1963; East Hampton Gallery, New York, 1965, 1969; Albright College, Reading,, Pennsylvania, 1966; Long Island University, Brooklyn, 1968; Westbeth Gallery, New York, 1971, 1972; The Oakland Museum, California. A Period of Exploration: San Francisco 1945-1950; 1973; San Francisco Museum of Art, Painting and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era 1976; Wiegand Gallery, College of Notre Dame, Belmont, California, 1990; Laguna Art Museum & San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism, 1996. James Kelly died June 29, 2003 of pneumonia at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, where he lived with his wife, painter Sonia Gechtoff. Literature: Thomas Albright, Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-1980 Susan Landauer, The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism Henry Hopkins, Painting and Sculpture in California: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Painting and Sculpture Collection Sources include: Marika Herskovic, Editor, American Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s: An Illustrated Survey David J Carlson, Carlson Gallery, California.
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