The Valiant Red Car

Media - 1980.137.22 - SAAM-1980.137.22_1 - 6403
Copied Jim Dine, The Valiant Red Car, 1960, oil on canvas, 52 18129 78 in. (132.5330.0 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection, 1980.137.22

Artwork Details

The Valiant Red Car
Not on view
52 18129 78 in. (132.5330.0 cm)
backing board upper right in felt-tipped pen and ink: 70 (written in a circle) backing board upper center in felt-tipped pen and ink: THE VALIANT RED CAR/#5683
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson, Martha Jackson Memorial Collection
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Architecture — vehicle — automobile
  • Abstract
Object Number

Artwork Description

Dine was driving along a mountain road when he heard a radio report that his college roommate had been killed in an automobile accident. He was stunned and his own car ran off the road. Between 1959 and 1962, he memorialized the tragedy in a series of drawings, paintings, and prints and in a Happening called The Car Crash for which The Valiant Red Car served as a backdrop. The painting also pays homage to art dealer Martha Jackson, who offered Dine $4,000 a year to stop teaching elementary school and paint full time. “The Valiant Red Car was a celebration of her red Valiant. It was a way for me to depict our relationship without giving up my own iconography.”

Modern Masters: Midcentury Abstraction from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2008