Commission for the Biltmore Hotel

In 1976, Gene Summers and business partner Phyllis Lambert began the first restoration of the Los Angeles Biltmore. They commissioned Jim Dine to create new works for the historic hotel from carpets and mirrors to artworks and lamps. In 1982, Dine created the unique collection of wall-mounted bronze reliefs for the Biltmore.

In the early 1980s, Summers had also arranged for Dine to teach a class at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Dine created the bronzes at the school’s foundry and they were exhibited at the hotel’s restaurant, Bernard’s. The artist incorporated tools and materials found at the Biltmore during renovations into the bronzes themselves to create the resulting series of unique works.

...Phyllis and I decided that it would be good to incorporate art with the building…both of us knew an artist by the name of Jim Dine...Each individual guest room had as many as…a minimum of six…pieces of artwork by Jim Dine.

Jim Dine b. 1935

For nearly six decades, American artist Jim Dine has evoked the power of symbolism, familiarity, and the search for self through a variety of mediums. A seeming critique on modern society, Dine places personal possessions and regular objects at the focal point of his prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures. His evolving imagery includes reoccurring themes such as heart shapes, bathrobes, tools, and the human body for which he is best known.

Dine was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1935. His grandfather owned a hardware store where he worked throughout his youth later influencing his interest in ordinary objects. “I grew up with tools…I’ve always been enchanted by these objects made by anonymous hands,” he has stated. From 1953-1957 Dine studied poetry at the University of Cincinnati and later the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. After receiving his BFA from the Ohio University in Athens, GA, he moved to New York in 1958.