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James Castle

American, 1899–1977

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James Castle

American, 1899–1977

345
Followers
Biography

James Castle was a self-taught artist who was born deaf and never learned to sign or read or write language in a conventional manner. His drawings, always executed in intimate scale, are expressions of his introspection and life experiences. To create his work, Castle used found materials like scraps from his parents’ general store—such as matchbooks, packing paper, calendars, register receipts, and grocery cartons—and created marks using stove soot mixed with saliva, and a sharpened stick as a stylus. Though he was considered illiterate, Castle often used textual elements in his compositions, taking the form of numbers, hybrid letters, or symbols. More common subjects included his immediate surroundings and daily encounters.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Top emerging
Emerging representation
Represented by up-and-coming galleries.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
frieze, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition
Biography

James Castle was a self-taught artist who was born deaf and never learned to sign or read or write language in a conventional manner. His drawings, always executed in intimate scale, are expressions of his introspection and life experiences. To create his work, Castle used found materials like scraps from his parents’ general store—such as matchbooks, packing paper, calendars, register receipts, and grocery cartons—and created marks using stove soot mixed with saliva, and a sharpened stick as a stylus. Though he was considered illiterate, Castle often used textual elements in his compositions, taking the form of numbers, hybrid letters, or symbols. More common subjects included his immediate surroundings and daily encounters.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Top emerging
Emerging representation
Represented by up-and-coming galleries.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
frieze, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition
Articles Featuring James Castle
These Major Contemporary Artists Are Passionate Collectors of Outsider Art
Jan 22nd, 2020
These Major Contemporary Artists Are Passionate Collectors of Outsider Art
Outsider Artists Get Long-Overdue Market Spotlight at The Armory Show’s Modern Section
Mar 4th, 2016
Outsider Artists Get Long-Overdue Market Spotlight at The Armory Show’s Modern Section
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