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James Peter Cost
(1923-2002)
 Collection:  American Collection
 Specialty:  Paintings
   Though born in Philadelphia on March 3, 1923, James Peter Cost has more
   often been identified with the California coast, to which his family moved
   when he was nine. Having received degrees from U.C.L.A. and U.S.C., Cost
   taught fine art at the secondary level for fourteen years before embarking
   on a full-time painting career. He began a serious study of traditional
   techniques and composition and eventually became a neo-realist. As such,
   he quickly made a name for himself (enabling him to quit teaching) with
   landscapes of the valleys and coasts of northern California, the mountains
   of his native Pennsylvania, and other scenic American sites like that
   depicted in the Norton's Clear Winter Morning in New England.
   Despite this lovely snowy scene, Cost is best known for his Pacific
   seascapes, which combine his love of art with his passion for sailing. His
   service with amphibious forces in the South Pacific during World War II
   was followed by a membership in the U.S. Coast Guard and championship
   sailing trophies in 1960 and 1962. This experiential knowledge of the sea
   and surf conditions on the California coast significantly added to the
   realism of his paintings.

   As a neo-realist, Cost often created detailed studies and preliminary
   sketches with watercolor or light oil paint en plein air before
   approaching the final version on canvas. While these finished works were
   sometimes in acrylic or oil, his favorite medium remained gouache. With
   each painting, he continued to seek a fresh challenge and attempted to
   capture something complex and difficult. From 1964-1989, Cost sold these
   exceptional paintings through his gallery in Carmel. During that time, he
   also won the Franklin Mint Gold Medal ward for Distinguished Seascapes and
   was twice commissioned to produce covers for Reader's Digest  in
   addition to serving as president of the Carmel Art Association. He passed
   away in 2002.

   Museum Staff

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