James Francis Gill was born in Tahoka, Texas in 1934. He attended San Angelo High-School. After a tour of duty with the marines, he attended San Angelo College before completing his formal education at the University of Texas in Austin. From 1956-1960 Gill studied architecture and worked as an architectural designer in Midland, TX and Odessa, TX. From 1960-1961 he studied at the University of Texas, Austin, TX on a painting scholarship. He left Texas in 1962 and moved to Los Angeles, California. The support he received from his first dealer, the legendary Felix Landau, was pivotal to Gill’s early entrance into important private and public collections. Felix Landau was one of the most respected art dealers with galleries on the West Coast and the East Coast at that time. Stars of film and music, art lovers and businesspeople collected the artwork of James Francis Gill in the 1960s. Gill was commissioned to paint the covers of well known print media such as the TIME magazine. Hollywood stars like John Wayne and Tony Curtis requested to be painted by him.

During his stay in Los Angeles, paintings and drawings were finding their way into the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, as well as many West Coast museums. Major national corporations, such as the Mead Corporation and Time-Life Corporation, were also purchasing his paintings for their collections. In 1962 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired the Marilyn Triptych, shortly after the death of...
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