Paintings of absence and melancholy (I) – Chairs and windows by Jim Holland

Some thoughts on Jim Holland’s work and some selected paintings

[This is an extended and corrected version of a post published here on November 9th, 2016; it contains more pictures -of better quality- and furthermore I opine that it deserves another opportunity, since back then it received very few visits -I better do not say how many…]

Jim Holland is an American artist, born in 1955 in Schenectady, NY. He works with oils and watercolours, following a style marked by stripped-down realistic depiction (sometimes photorealistic, and sometimes a little surrealistic to my eyes). Anyway his paintings transmit great serenity and a sense of melancholic solitude very much alike the one found in the mature work of Edward Hopper—an artist for whom Holland has had a lifelong admiration.

The enduring themes in Holland’s paintings are the light, the space and simple architectural forms near the ocean, in New England, where he resides; he is really fond of windows, chairs, isolated houses and empty boats, docks, deserted views of the beach, with a sea almost always calm… Very rarely there is any presence to be seen, be it human or not, but we can occasionally see some vestige of it more or less close in time: a shirt hanging on the back of a chair, an open book, a cup of tea or coffee…

There is not much originality in his work –but he does not seek it or pretend it, either–; just great beauty and an extraordinary technical competence (the play of light and shadows leave us amazed (have a look at “Light on a Chair” below) …; most ripples and reflections on the water are masterly as well). There is silence too and, very often –as much as in Ed Hopper’s paintings–, an open way to meditation and -at least for me- toward some disquieting excursion into philosophy.

(Of course, true art does not require at all to be original. Most artists in painting, literature or music are not. On the other side, many original -even never seen- works are not art. There is not the least doubt in my mind that Jim Holland is a true artist.)

The Blue Shirt

(Unknown title, oil on canvas)

(Unknown title, oil on canvas)


Blue Shirt 3 (oil on canvas)

The Green Room


[None of the images is mine, but all of them have been carefully chosen and edited by me, in order to bring back to them, as much as possible, the brightness and colours of the originals. The majority of paintings shown on this post and the following one belong in private collections, and a few of them are still -or until very recently- for sale in galleries from Boston and New York City (btw. at surprisingly affordable prices).]

You will find a second post on Jim Holland -with a small gallery of his marine paintings- here down:

Paintings of absence and melancholy (II) – Jim Holland’s empty boats

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3 thoughts on “Paintings of absence and melancholy (I) – Chairs and windows by Jim Holland

    1. M’alegro que t’agradi. I sí que aquest que dius és un oli magistral 😉 Quant al títol, no és pas que no en tingui, és que jo no l’he trobat…
      A mi també em fascina “Light on a Chair” i la primera “Blue Shirt” (la de l’encapçalament)
      Mercès per la visita !


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