Untitled: The Art of James Castle

Nicholas R. Bell and Leslie Umberger, with an introduction by Alexander Nemerov

Untitled: The Art of James Castle celebrates one of the most enigmatic American artists of the twentieth century. For nearly seven decades, Castle gathered materials around his rural Idaho home, such as packaging, advertisements, string, and soot, and created an elaborate and umistakable representation of his world.

Exhibition curator Nicholas R. Bell explores James Castle’s landscapes and interiors in an effort to grasp the artist”s experience of such fundamental elements as space, time, and memory. Leslie Umberger charts Castle’s reception in the art world as gallerists, curators, and collectors have struggled to balance an appreciation of his work with the complex circumstances of his life.

“Discovering James Castle’s art is like coming upon a cave full of wondrous and long-concealed pictures.”
— Alexander Nemerov


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Product Details

Copublished with D Giles Ltd.
Year Published
128 pp.: Ill.
  • Hardcover: 978-1-907804-62-5
8 1410 14 in.


Media - 2013.27.1 - SAAM-2013.27.1_2 - 92204
Untitled: The Art of James Castle
September 25, 2014February 1, 2015
In 2013 the Smithsonian American Art Museum acquired 54 pieces by James Castle (1899-1977). With this acquisition, the museum now holds one of the largest public collections of Castle’s work.