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James Dean Hand Painting Water Color Artwork – COA Provenance LOA

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James Dean was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Dean the 18th best male movie star on their AFI’s 100 Years…100 Stars list.

He was a legend in Hollywood. Most people don’t know that Dean was also an accomplished artist. This painting represents his cultured talent on canvas.  It is one of the most significant James Dean artworks to become available at auction as they rarely come to the open market. Dean’s most famous for his final work which was a portrait of actor and musician Billy Gunn. This offered original painting by Dean has similarities to that remarkable work. He had distinct brush strokes and bold block letters in his works.

Surviving through the years is the approximately 9×11 watercolor painting created by the iconic actor and artist James Dean.  This is one of three watercolors created by James Dean while attending the Fairmount High School.  At this period Dean had been suspended for three days for slugging a fellow Drama student who had dared to criticize his dramatic reading.

It is a very abstract watercolor made by Dean in 1949, during his senior year of high school. The wacky watercolor features an alien-like creature on a planet in space along with an obelisk bristling with eyeballs on stalks.

The James Dean watercolor artwork trio is said to be autobiographical.  “Property of Bette Simmons 1956″ has been signed on the back. Bette Simmons was James Dean art teacher.  She obtained the original artwork after James Dean passed away until the James Dean museum found it in their possession. It was on display at the James Dean Gallery until that closed.  This iconic piece of art and James Dean original oil was purchased from the Museum at the same time. The display measures 18.5″ x 29”. Originated from the James Dean Museum archive. 

Also included is a copy of the letter from Diane Hanville.  The most important part of the letter dictates:

The first one in the series is owned by Seita Ohnishi and the third one is owned by Kenneth Kendall.

Again, these were done on the day that Jimmy was expelled from high school for 3 days for fighting on the stairs. He expressed his anger and frustration at people talking about him and watching him and at feeling tried down. He took them with him when he went to see Bette McPhereson (Harriet Bette Allen) that afternoon and left them there.

Authentication: Provenance Letter

All displays are sold as is without warranty to the condition of the frame.

Additional information

Weight 7 lbs

Character Family



James Dean



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