John Paul Jones Biography

John Paul Jones




John Paul Jones, draftsman, painter, printmaker, sculptor, and teacher, was born in Indianola, Iowa on November 18, 1924. He enrolled as a pre-engineering major at Simpson College in Indianola in 1943, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. After serving in the military, he began his art training at the University of Iowa in 1946. Jones studied under Lester Longman, James Lechay, Humbert Albrizio, and Stuart Edie, but it was perhaps Mauricio Lasansky's printmaking workshop that most affected his art. 1951 was a pivotal year for Jones. He received his M.F.A. degree in printmaking from Iowa, was awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation scholarship for graphics, given a purchase prize from the Brooklyn Museum National Print Exhibition, and joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma as Instructor in Art.

Jones then taught briefly at the University of Iowa before his appointment in 1953 as Assistant Professor of Art at the University of California at Los Angeles. Part of his recruitment to the school included his design and launch of their printmaking program. His recognition as one of America's leading printmakers grew and in 1962 he was given a write-up in Time magazine. In 1963 he was given his first retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, on the publication of his first monograph, issued under the direction of Una E. Johnson and funded by a Ford Foundation grant. In 1969, Jones relocated to the Irvine campus of the University of California where he was Professor of Prints and Drawings until 1982. 

In addition to his printmaking, for which he was best known, Jones was a painter and sculptor, and in the late 1970s he focused primarily on minimalist bronze and wood works. He was noted for having a singular vision that was not often influenced by ever-changing trends in the art world, even as he explored new media; his evolution of change was still within his own framework. Of his work the Los Angeles Times art critic William Wilson wrote, "The most common mood of Jones' 

Jones had numerous solo exhibitions, and an enumeration of his group shows would equal in length a listing of his awards and prizes. He received the Creative Printmaking Award from the Guggenheim Foundation in 1960, which afforded him travel in Europe. A brief listing of the repositories of Jones' work include the New York Museum of Modem Art, Brooklyn Museum, Library of Congress, National Art Gallery, Bibliotheque Nationale, Victoria and Albert Museum, Los Angeles Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, and the Joslyn Art Museum.

John Paul Jones died in Ashland, Oregon on September 25, 1999.