Object of the Month

Twixt, from the portfolio AGB EncoreTitle: Twixt, from the portfolio AGB Encore
Artist: Jim Nutt (born 1938)
Nationality: American
Date: 1997
Medium: Etching, aquatint, and soft-ground
Credit: Purchase funds provided in part by Christine and William Robb III with additional funds from Herb and Roberta Nechin, 2011.5

Image courtesy Russell Bowman Art Advisory

Jim Nutt is synonymous with the vibrant history of contemporary Chicago art. In 1966 the Hyde Park Art Center exhibition The Hairy Who featured a group of six artists (Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, James Falconer, Art Green, Suellen Rocca, Karl Wirsum) who shared a similar style, attitude, and subject matter. Nutt and the rest of the Hairy Who became dominant forces among the various artists in Chicago working in a figurative mode. Later dubbed the Chicago Imagists, their work was noted for its observable connection to comics, advertisements, and the graphics on jukeboxes and pinball machines -- as opposed to mainstream styles prevalent in New York at the time.

Nutt himself adopted a highly graphic style with bright, flat colors and figures embodied with a kind of adolescent sexual energy. In 1987 he began concentrating on portraits. Three years later he began focusing exclusively on female portraiture. With spare lines and subtly textured patterns, the print Twixt is characteristic of Nutt’s portrait drawings, which stand in contrast to his richly colored and detailed paintings. While it was undoubtedly inspired by mid-20th century pop culture, Nutt’s art also explores the formal devices and techniques of historical styles such as 15th- and 16th-century Northern European portraiture and Colonial American painting.