Item: Untitled, 1961
Artist/Maker: James Hubbell is well known for his sculptural home/compound in Julian and his parks, schools and other environments that bring art into the realm of everyday human experience. A reverence for nature remains the basis of James Hubbell’s singular career, one that seamlessly integrates art, craft and architecture. Hubbell studied sculpture at Cranbrook Academy of Art and often worked with labor-intensive, ancient techniques like wrought iron and stained glass in a contemporary architectural context.
During the 1960s and 70s Hubbell’s work was included in the prestigious series of California Design exhibitions at the Pasadena Art Museum and the Arts of Southern Californiaseries at the Long Beach Museum of Art, as well as at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York. His forged iron work was featured in Craft Horizons magazine in the 1970 article “The Contemporary Blacksmith.” James Hubbell was also one of the artists profiled in the final California Design publication from 1977, Craftsman Lifestyle: The Gentle Revolution.
Description: Avocado wood, copper sheet, different sized nails, and cowrie shells are all combined in this James Hubbell sculpture from 1961. Forceful and animated, the form is carved from a twisting Avocado branch and projects into space from the surface of water painted on the wood block base. Hubbell’s youthful exuberance manifest in this work extends to his choice of materials and the select areas of brightly painted, Aboriginal patterns in day glo colors. One end of the piece is wrapped in overlapping sections of copper sheet, nailed in place to hug the form. Signed with James Hubbell’s characteristic initials and dated 1961. After the fire, this is a spectacular and fairly rare example of his early sculpture.
Dimensions: 29 x 12 x 14 inches high
Condition: Very good – the end wrapped in copper was broken off many years ago and repaired by the artist many years ago.
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