This retrospective exhibition celebrates the life and work of Thomas Chimes, arguably one of the most important and influential artists to have emerged on the Philadelphia art scene in the past 50 years. It includes approximately 100 paintings and works on paper, many previously unseen, along with extensive biographical and archival material.
Of Greek descent, Chimes was born in Philadelphia in 1921. In 1939, the artist enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied with Daniel Garber and Francis Speight, but his studies were quickly interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Chimes served in the United States Army Air Force during the war years, before returning to his studies in New York in 1946. Under the G.I. Bill, the artist studied philosophy at Columbia University, and painting and sculpture at the Art Students League, where his teachers included Reginald Marsh and John Hovannes.
During his three years at the Art Students League, Chimes became acquainted with such contemporaries as Tony Smith, Barnett Newman, William Baziotes, Michael Lekakis, and Theodore Stamos. His own paintings from the 1940s and early 1950s reveal a strong debt to the dominant artistic trends in New York at that time, especially the gestural abstraction of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and other painters associated with Abstract Expressionism. In 1953, however, Chimes made a conscious decision to return to Philadelphia, much to the bewilderment of many of his friends and colleagues in New York. Inspired by the artists and writers whose names have become associated with the city of Philadelphia, most notably Thomas Eakins and Edgar Allan Poe, Chimes began to formulate an intensely personal and highly original iconography that often drew upon childhood memories and dreams.
Thomas Chimes (American, born 1921)
Oil on canvas
14 x 36 inches