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Visions of Garcia: Guitars and Artwork by Jerry Garcia at Bonhams

Wetlands II, Painting by Jerry Garcia
Wetlands II, Painting by Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia, the legendary guitarist, singer and composer for the Grateful Dead, began drawing as a child. He studied at The California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco (now known as the San Francisco Art Institute), and continued to paint and draw during his career as a musician. During the last years few years of his life, Jerry Garcia exhibited and sold his artwork throughout the United States. His estate continued to exhibit his art after his death. In 2005, to coincide with the tenth anniversary of his death, a book of Jerry Garcia’s artwork was published titled, Jerry Garcia: The Collected Artwork. The book features more than 100 full-color reproductions of his paintings, drawings, and prints.

Next month Bonhams will present its Visions of Garcia auction. The auction will offer rare memorabilia, including original artworks by Jerry Garcia and guitars designed specially for him.

One of the original paintings included in the auction is Wetlands II. According to the auction description, it is one of a series of large paintings in acrylic colors on heavyweight paper. It goes on to say that Jerry Garcia was recovering from an illness in 1986 when he took up the medium of airbrush. It says that, “In the Wetlands paintings, the image is made of broad mists of color, enlivened by slender stems of water plants. In Wetlands II, flowing strokes define a lush and supple plant in the foreground. The subject of wetlands is a recurring theme in the artist’s drawings and paintings, and shows his enjoyment of painting water and reflections.” The painting is estimated to sell for $150,000 – $175,000.

Other rare items in the auction include two Jerry Garica sketchbooks, circa 1991, with 30 unseen original images. Instruments in the auction will include a well-known Garcia acoustic Takamine guitar, as seen on the album covers for Pure Jerry Vol. 8 and Ragged But Right, played from 1985-1988 for acoustic shows; an Ibanez guitar, designed for Jerry Garcia by Ibanez and Bob Weir in 1977; and a Billy Kreutzmann drum set. There is also a 1983 Jerry Garcia-owned Harley Davidson, featured on the cover of the book Playing in the Band by David Gans.

Auction previews will take place May 4-7, 2012 in San Francisco and April 11-16, 2012 in New York. The auction will take place May 8, 2012 in San Francisco and will be simulcast in New York.

Visit the Pop Life Art homepage for links to many more musicians that paint.

Related blog entry: Original Portrait Paintings by Jerry Garcia at Heritage Auctions (July 4, 2012)