Today's Hours
Museum: 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Today's Hours
Museum: 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Cost, James Peter
(1923-2002)
Collection: American Collection
Specialties: Paintings, Prints
View Artwork
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