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James Dean Signed Painting Created by His Own Hand -Oil Painting Trumpet Player 1954 – COA -James Dean Museum

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Rated 5 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating

Winning Bid: $43,923.00

Winning Bid: $43,923.00

Auction ends: February 9, 2019 11:50 PM
Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Total price with Buyers Premium: $52,707.60

Bids count: 7

Auction views: 902


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.

This Dean original is a painting of an African-American trumpet player. It is oil on canvas measuring 15.5″ x 19.5″ and signed and dated by Dean in black paint in the lower right hand corner, “James Dean, 1954”.  The colors are vivid exhibiting bright red, orange and yellow brush strokes. Dean had a fervent imagination and used the fascination in his mind to project this image onto the canvas. The painting is prominently documented in the James Dean Collectors Guide by David Loehr page 262; James Dean by George Perry (2005) page 89; and once hung in the James Dean Memorial Gallery. Photos of the painting hanging in the gallery are included. This piece was one of just three documented paintings from 1954 that Dean made that year. It was the same year (1954)  that he shot the classic film East of Eden.

This was confirmed in a 1997 letter (copy) from David Loehr (Memorial gallery director) and photo of the painting hanging in the gallery. Loehr recalled (in part), “This letter is in regards to the oil painting of a…trumpet player signed by James Dean 1954. Based on the style of the painting and the colors used, I believe that, to the best of my ability, it does indeed appear to be the work of the film star James Dean.”

A provenance letter is also included from Richard Kohl. He indicates the above mentioned similarity with the Billy Gunn portrait Dean did. He also talks about how Larry Jonas who is the leading authority on Dean paintings concurred with the authentication analysis. The provenance portion also has a fascinating detail that we have to mention.

The painting was purchased from a man who originally purchased it at a garage sale in the town of Muncie, Indiana, approximately 15 miles from Fairmount, Indiana – Dean’s hometown. Based on our inspection and research we determine this James Dean oil painting to be completely genuine and authentic, with no alterations of any kind.

The painting is lavishly framed to 26×30 (oversized). Overall, a spectacular piece with ties to a pop culture icon that has tremendous artistic merit.

Authentication: Provenance Letter (Signed by Kohl), Associated Provenance Documents (copies from James Dean Memorial Gallery etc.).

All displays are sold as is without warranty to the condition of the frame and may have a shipping surcharge.

Additional information

Weight 85 lbs
Dimensions 28 × 6 × 30 in

Autographed Item

Character Family



James Dean


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