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Jim Mickelson was born in Iowa in 1926. He was the oldest of three children and enlisted in the Marines right out of high school. He served toward the end of WWII in the South Pacific where he first began sketching. After the war he attended college in Iowa, and then attended the Los Angeles County Art Institute in California. He studied at Mexico City College for a year before traveling to Sante Fe, New Mexico where he joined workshops and eventually began selling his artwork in Taos.
Eventually he settled in New England, first in Rockport in the late 1950's where he raised a family with his first wife Barbara Armstrong, opened his own gallery on Tuna Wharf, and was a member of the Rockport Art Association. Then in the 1960's he moved to Newburyport, MA, where he died in 1998. While in Newburyport he owned and operated Santiago Gallery and was the longtime companion of the artist Pamela Pearce. He frequently traveled and opened seasonal gallery shows in New York City, Provincetown, Palm Springs, Sarasota and West Palm Beach.
He was one of the beloved local artists, befriended by both business owners and their patrons, never quite in control of events, yet never letting that stop him from chronicling through his paintings the people and scenery he loved. Whether it was the sailboats tacking upwind off Plum Island, or the polo players at the Myopia Hunt Club and Saratoga, the fishing boats tied up in the river or the folks sitting barside in their favorite watering hole; it was Duncan Chase, street captain, homeless and omniscient. His paintings came alive in Newburyport.
The Connor Summers Gallery, has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to buy and sell some of Jim's paintings. His collectibility has risen sharply since his passing, as much because of his ferocious talent as for his warm and gentle spirit which inspired great admiration and loyal friendships. Browse through the collection that we've had access to, and those his family and friends have shared with us, and enjoy the images he left. It is our sincere hope that those who own Jim's work will continue to make it accessible to those who appreciate contemporary American art.
It is the intention of this website to keep this page posted as a permanent footnote to the legacy of Jim Mickelson.
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