Online Gallery of Untitled: The Art of James Castle

One of the central themes of James Castle’s art is his representation of home. The steady flow of drawings illustrating barns, sheds, fences, and a rural horizon alongside interiors with coal stoves, simple furniture, and patterned wallpapers recall a recently tamed West in the early twentieth century.

These are views of the abbreviated landscape of Castle’s life: the farm in remote Garden Valley, Idaho, where he was born and where his parents ran the village post office out of their home; the town of Star, where they lived in the 1920s; and the outskirts of Boise, where Castle remained from 1931 until his death in 1977.

Although all Castle’s works are undated, we know that nearly all of his surviving art was made after his family’s last move in 1931. This means the landscapes of his youth were continually revisited, occasionally in person, but also in exceptionally detailed memory as Castle retread the same few acres again and again from incrementally different angles. Castle also frequently drew related views of the same place on each side of the paper. Turning these works over allows you to inhabit the artist’s perspective as he moves about a room or field.