Weeks, James BIO

James Weeks (1922 - 1998) Biography


James Weeks: American Painter born 1922 in Oakland California, died Boston MA 1998

James Weeks was one of the key Artists to show at the now iconic 1957 exhibition curated by Paul Mills: “Figurative Painting in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Other participants included David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, Paul Wonner, William Theophilus Brown, and Bruce McGaw, along with some of their more promising students.  Art historians came to identify this exhibition as the beginning of the Bay Area Figurative Movement establishing the first painting style independent of dominant New York post war influence.

Many of these painters came from the heroic tradition of Abstract Expressionism but evolved elements of the human figure and landscape into their compositions while maintaining a sense of monumental scale, an expressive palette and a lush painterly style.

Weeks’s father was a well-known San Francisco bandleader and his mother a classical pianist. From an early age, he was surrounded by musicians from all walks of life. Thus, his most well-known works were large canvases of jazz musicians performing and relaxing during breaks from their sets.  Though often capturing the smoky interior of clubs and boxing gyms as well as staid recital halls, Weeks had a romantic relationship with nature as well. An avid sailor he did a series of several large paintings of Sailboats racing on the San Francisco Bay and many seascapes of stormy days at Ocean Beach.

In 1970 Weeks took a position teaching at Boston University where he remained until he retired in 1987. His East Coast work took on a more formal style with an emphasis on line and rigorous structure.