WSU News

Acclaimed artist Jim Dine donates collection to Museum of Art/WSU

Jim Dine Heart Print
Jim Dine Heart Print

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University’s Museum of Art announced today that it received an unprecedented gift of more than 200 fine art prints from internationally acclaimed artist Jim Dine. The gift—valued at nearly $2 million—creates the largest permanent collection of Dine prints at a university in the world.

“This is a complete career overview in printmaking by one of the most significant artists of our time, all from the artist himself,” said Chris Bruce, director for the Museum of Art/WSU. “It is unprecedented for our museum and we are breathless over the scope of this gift.”

Shipped from New York and London to WSU, the collection spans this important American artist’s 50-year career in printmaking. It also represents a comprehensive range of printmaking techniques. More than 70 of the prints will be on public view at the Wright Exhibition Space in Seattle, Thursdays and Saturdays, June 12-July 19.

L to R - Jim Dine  and Chris Bruce
L to R – Jim Dine and Chris Bruce

Printmaking is a collaborative effort between the artist and the printmaker to create each print as an original work of art. The art image is created in stone, metal, wood or on screens, then printed on paper. During the process, the artist is present or has definitive say over the final product. After each edition is completed, the plate or screen is destroyed, making all the pieces in the collection rare.

“Everything I do is made with my hands,” said Dine. “And for me, traditionally prints have been another way to draw. Just that. You’ve got to care about prints. You’ve got to care about woodcuts, lithographs and etchings. You can’t care about whether they sell or whether anyone feels the way you do about your images. I love printmaking so much I try not to care about anything beyond my ego.”

Jim Dine entered the New York art world to great acclaim with his performance art “Happenings” and mixed media assemblages in the late 1950s. Although identified among the first generation of Pop art with work by contemporaries Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Dine’s work has always been independent of labels. His signature images of hearts, tools and bathrobes suggested popular culture references, but in his hands they became opportunities for a strong romantic, expressionist sensibility.

Over time he expanded the realm of imagery to embrace classical and mythic themes, along with figurative work and portraiture. He has continued to work unceasingly over the course of five decades, producing an astounding body of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculpture.

“It is hard to believe, but I have known Jim since 1988 and have had the privilege of working with him on several exhibitions throughout that time,” said Bruce, “including one of the first exhibits I was involved with at WSU in 2004—‘Jim Dine: Sculpture from the Walla Walla Foundry.’

“Those familiar with WSU’s Pullman campus may recognize one of Jim Dine’s sculptures as the big blue heart at the center of campus, called ‘Technicolor Heart.’”

Dine chose to give the collection to WSU in part to honor Portland, Ore., arts patron and philanthropist Jordan D. Schnitzer, who announced in October 2013 his commitment of $5 million to launch the $15 million effort to build a new and larger Museum of Art at WSU. More than $9 million has been committed to the effort to date.

“Jim’s gift is representative of the remarkable quality of our collections,” said Bruce. “Through the construction of a new, state-of-the-art museum and gallery, we will help ensure that world-class art—like that of great artists like Jim Dine—will be accessible to the citizens and visitors of the Inland Northwest for decades to come.”

The Wright exhibition is generously funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation and the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment.

The Museum of Art/WSU is committed to enriching the community life of Washington State University, the region and the nation by providing meaningful encounters with creativity and innovation. For more information, visit:

Contact: Debby Stinson, Museum of Art/WSU, 509-335-6282,

Anna-Maria Shannon, Museum of Art/WSU, 509-335-6140,

Kathy Barnard, WSU University Communications, (509) 335-8055,