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A Happy Drawing for Jim Zver by George Deem

Medium:Collage, watercolor, and ink on paper
Size inches:c. 18 1/2 x 12
Size cm:c. 47 x 30.5
Signature:Signed and dated lower left
Location:Jim Zver Collection, Los Angeles

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Signed, dated, and titled lower left in signature line "April 30, 1962. a happy drawing for Jim Zver by George Deem "

In an email to Ronald Vance dated June 26, 2009, Jim Zver wrote how Deem's "A Happy Drawing... " had come about:

"In late 1960 and into 1962 I worked in the Display department of the Metropolitan Museum. At that time there was a small cafeteria in the Junior Museum where most of the staff usually ate. The cashier was an eccentric woman, really very odd... Her big passion was going to ball games, where she would yell, jump up and down and scream for her team.

"One day someone took her picture and it appeared in, I think, the Daily News as a little human interest story. At the Metropolitan Museum there was a several page staff bulletin that would come around once a week or so. They used the photo in an item on staff activities. George and I were in the habit of sending comic (to us) letters to one another. I had a stash of a few additional bulletins and began cutting out the cashier's photo and signing my letters with them instead of my name. George apparently saved them.

"In 1962 I left the museum to paint full time. This was a big, scary and risky move for me, but it felt like the right time to do it. Meanwhile, George had used the photos in (a) collage and completed the grid with some renderings of the image. He gave it to me in celebration of my leaving the Met. It has a very nice and personal signature line."

In 2007, Jim Zver made a gift to George Deem of Zver's School of Collage for George Deem by Jim Zver. The Zver collage is now in The Collection of George Deem at the New Britain Museum of American Art (Accession Number 2009.84). "The title for my 2007 School of Collage is meant to reference the title of George's 1962 drawing." (Jim Zver, email to Ronald Vance, September 7, 2012).

As noted by Douglas K. S. Hyland, "The cut shapes reminiscent of desks lined up in a classroom in Zver's 2007 School of Collage for George Deem by Jim Zver (exhib. cat. 4) echo the desks in the more than 50 paintings of schoolrooms by Deem." (Introduction to the catalogue for the New Britain Museum of American Art's April 6 - July 8, 2012 exhibition The Art of Friendship: The Collection of George Deem)

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