Jesse Jay McVicker Biography

Jesse Jay McVicker




Printmaker, painter, and sculptor Jesse Jay McVicker, also known as J. Jay McVicker, was born in Vici, Oklahoma, on October 18, 1911. He studied at Southwestern Oklahoma State University for two years before transferring to Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical School (now Oklahoma State University), where he studied under Ella Jack and Doel Reed.  At the time, the school did offer a fine arts major; despite this, he received his BA in 1940 and his MA in 1941, for which his thesis was a survey of the use of color in European art from the Renaissance through the early 20th century - essentially making an art major for himself. He later became head of the art department at OSU.

Prior to the Second World War McVicker was known as a regionalist, but his focus changed dramatically when the art world's focus turned to non representational abstraction in the late 1940s. He soon established himself as a leading Oklahoma artist and was represented by Bethesda Gallery for many years, with his work appearing in major exhibitions in Paris, New York - including at the Guggenheim - and elsewhere. He was head of the art department at OSU from 1959 until he retired in 1977. 

McVicker's work can be found in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Oklahoma State University Museum of Art; the Harwood Museum of Art; the Philbrok Museum of Art; the Fred Jones Museum of Art; the Smithsonian Art Museum, and many others. 

McVicker died in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on August 31, 2004.