Thanks to Rob Matthews for first alerting us to the death Monday of Philadelphia artist Tom Chimes, and to PAFA for confirming it. At the time of Chimes’ retrospective exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in 2007, he was pretty chipper and charming.
He died on the day of his 88th birthday, peacefully slipping away, surrounded by family, said Michael Taylor, curator of the Chimes retrospective. “His son Dmitri thinks he was determined to make it to 88.”
Here is my absolute favorite Chimes piece ever:
And here’s another that I really loved, with Taylor talking about it at the press opening for Chimes’ retrospective:
Taylor reminded me that at that opening, I had asked Chimes why most of his subjects were men, and he said Chimes kept coming back to that question in his mind, and then said to Taylor, “I should have done Gertrude Stein.”
Chimes was surrounded by his family when he died, Taylor said. They were reading him famous passages from Homer.
Besides Greek history, Chimes had other interests that came through in his art work. Here he is in front of one of his white paintings of French visionary writer Alfred Jarry, the object of a long term obsession that dominated Chimes’ artist output over a number of decades.
“He was such a wonderful man, and I will miss him,” said Taylor. “I just feel honored to have known him.”