One hundred years ago today, James Royer Flora was born in the quaint village of Bellefontaine, Ohio. Above, possibly making its first public appearance, is the artist's earliest extant work, a pen & ink with pencil (or charcoal) entitled First Steps, dated June 8, 1935, around the time Flora enrolled at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Whether the work is intended to be autobiographical shall forever remain a mystery.
To observe the centennial, we have two exhibits in development, and one or two others under consideration. The first, at a cool Brooklyn club/bistro/gallery called Jalopy, will run from June 13 to August 22. Because the club's decor is largely music-themed, this exhibit will spotlight Flora's album cover art—which also happens to be the focus of our most recent anthology, The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora (published by Fantagraphics in August 2013). On display will be original copies of Flora album covers—some extremely rare—as well as selected offerings from our album cover fine art print catalog.
The second will be a major retrospective of Flora's fine art and commercial illustrations at Silvermine Art Center, in Norwalk, Connecticut. The opening reception takes place September 21, and the exhibit runs for six weeks. Flora and his artist wife Jane, whose Bell Island home was part of greater Norwalk, were members of the Silvermine Guild of Artists, so this exhibit is something of a homecoming. Dozens of rare works will be displayed, along with paintings and original artist prints which have appeared in our four anthologies.
So, to the esteemed Mr. Flora, wherever you are: