James J. "Jim" McGarrell

  • Born: February 22, 1930
  • Died: February 7, 2020
  • Location: Newbury, Vermont

Cremation Society of New Hampshire

101 Union Street
Littleton, NH 03561

Tel. (800) 493-8001

Tribute & Message From The Family


James J. "Jim" McGarrell, 89, of Newbury, Vt., died February 7, 2020, at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville.

McGarrell was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on February 22, 1930. Orphaned at 13, as a teenager he had a strong interest in jazz, particularly the music of early New Orleans and Kansas City. After exhausting the books on the subject in the public library, he began to look at art books on the neighboring shelves. At 20, he dropped out of a pre-law curriculum at Indiana University to take a job at a steel casting plant and began to draw and paint in the basement of his family home. He returned to the University in Bloomington as an art student and continued his studies for a summer at the Skowhegan School in Maine, followed by two years of graduate school at UCLA and a Fulbright grant to Stuttgart, Germany.

His first gallery shows were in Los Angeles in 1955, and he showed in New York starting in 1961. He gained increasing recognition in Europe starting in the mid-1960s, with shows in galleries and museums especially in France and Italy.
He was part of many group shows, notably New Images of Man at the Museum of Modern Art in 1960, and as one of five painters selected for The Figurative Tradition in American Art at the U.S. Pavilion of the 1968 Venice Biennale.
Paintings by McGarrell are in the permanent collections of many institutions. In 1995 he received the Jimmy Ernst Award for lifetime achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 2008 the New York Community Trust awarded him The Oscar Williams and Gene Derwood Prize in visual arts.

McGarrell's teaching career – Reed College, 1956-59; Indiana University, 1959-81; Washington University in Saint Louis, 1981 to his retirement in 1992 – was modified for more than a decade after 1970 when he spent more of the year for uninterrupted time in the studio while he lived with his family in Grimaud in Southern France and Umbertide in Northern Umbria.

He was also invited to teach or work in residence for brief periods at many institutions, including Skowhegan, the International School in Umbria, the Roswell NM, AIR program, the New York Studio School and Dartmouth College. It was while he was at the latter, in 1993, that he and his wife of sixty years, the late writer and translator Ann McGarrell (1933-2016), settled into an early 19th-century house in Newbury, Vt., where he continued to live and paint until his death.

He is survived by his son, Andrew McGarrell and his wife, Margaret of Vermont. He was also preceded in death by his son Flores, sister, Joan Morical and two brothers, Patrick and Michael.

ARRANGEMENTS: Plans for a memorial will be determined later.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Jakmel Eskpresyon arts center in Haiti, www.jecenter.org .


Condolence & Memory Journal

I met Jim in Indiana when he was on the faculty of Indiana University. He came and stayed at our home in Evansville Indiana in the early 1980's where we worked in a three color intaglio print which I have now donated to the Art Collection at the University of Southern Indiana. Jim loved good wine, great food, playing poker and sharing time with friends. When we first met he was spending half the year in Italy and half the year teaching at IU and the subject of his art were much influenced by Italian landscape and architecture. We both spent time at the Roswell Artist in Residence Program and had the chance to spend time with Jim, Ann and Flores at the 40th Anniversary celebration in Roswell. I always wanted to see Jim's dinning room in Vermont which will now not happen. He was a remarkable artist and intellectual who will be missed by all who knew him and will donate this monoprint in his memory to the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art.

Posted by Michael Aakhus - Roswell, NM - Friend   May 04, 2021

I just found Jim's obit online. We were good friends, playing pool, listening to New Orleans jazz records. I was proud to see the career he built for himself.
Bill Fulk I.U. 1952, onece a hopeful artist, retired systems engineer (also 89).

Posted by Bill Fulk - Centennial, CO - Friend   September 09, 2020

Candle

Very sorry for your loss, Andrew

Posted by Catherine Eckman - Columbia, SC - Friend   September 06, 2020

Thank you Jim for everything! I fondly remember learning art from you long ago at WashU, and I teach many of my students today key lessons that you taught us. Best wishes to family and friends.

Posted by Gregory Scheckler - Williamstown, MA - Student   June 04, 2020

I became a fan of James McGarrell's art in the 1990s. My first big art purchase was his amazing four-part lithograph, "Bianca & Blacky" (1980), which my wife and I continue to enjoy everyday. I later visited one of his shows at the Washburn Gallery in New York and had the privilege to attend a lunch with him in the 2000s when he visited Denver. While I am very sorry for your loss, I rejoice in the beauty he brought into the world.

Posted by Kyle MacMillan - Chicago, IL - Acquaintance   May 29, 2020

James

Posted by Lily Mandl - Biddeford, ME - Family Friend   February 15, 2020

So very sorry for your loss of Jim. So glad I saw him in December and got to see some of his wonderful works of art, What a beautiful , gentle smile he had ❤

Posted by Beverly - Newbury, VT - Family Friend   February 14, 2020

Candle

So very very sorry for your loss ! I am also very very confident that Jim , Joan. pat, and Michael had one hell of a reunion ! God bless everyone and may Our Lords Tender Mercies see you through these hard days. Laura MCGARRELL Frasier

Posted by Laura McGarrell Frasier - Kaysville., UT - Family   February 13, 2020

Still overwhelmed by our loss, that is, everyone's, I can barely speak of the joy, courage and peace he transmitted to all who knew him. In memory also of my irreplaceable friend Ann, I salute his life.

Posted by Karen Fronduti - Città di Castello, WI - Friend   February 11, 2020


Family Album


Community Photos

James
Studio
Dining room mural 4 Seasons
Studio work 2017
I met Jim in Indiana when he was on the faculty of Indiana University. He came and stayed at our home in Evansville Indiana in the early 1980's where we worked in a three color intaglio print which I have now donated to the Art Collection at the University of Southern Indiana. Jim loved good wine, great food, playing poker and sharing time with friends. When we first met he was spending half the year in Italy and half the year teaching at IU and the subject of his art were much influenced by Italian landscape and architecture. We both spent time at the Roswell Artist in Residence Program and had the chance to spend time with Jim, Ann and Flores at the 40th Anniversary celebration in Roswell. I always wanted to see Jim's dinning room in Vermont which will now not happen. He was a remarkable artist and intellectual who will be missed by all who knew him and will donate this monoprint in his memory to the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art.