Philip Jamison Jr., 96, of West Chester, an acclaimed painter of Chester County landscapes, and a longtime art collector, died Friday, Sept. 3, of complications from Parkinson’s disease and other ailments at Barclay Friends assisted living facility in West Chester.
Known for his restrained and understated work in watercolors and oil that depict landscapes around West Chester, other Chester County locales, and his summer home in Vinalhaven, Maine, Mr. Jamison showed his paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York, the Sessler Gallery in Philadelphia, and other venues.
He was influenced by the “Brandywine” style of illustration that was popularized and taught by artist Howard Pyle and others in the Philadelphia area at the end of the 19th century. That technique highlights the inspiration of the subject on the artist, and the character of the scene, over the technical procedures used to create it.
“People may think of it as realistic, but I think in terms of it being abstract,” Mr. Jamison told The Inquirer in 1998, referring to his painting technique.
In 1999, Inquirer art critic Edward J. Sozanski said Mr. Jamison “can take pride in a solid record of professional achievement.”
“His style is more impressionistic than precise, and dependent for its effects on quality of light rather than accumulation of details,” Sozanski wrote. “His landscapes are quiet and gentle; evidence of human habitation is usually secondary to the natural beauty of the scene.
“Only in the later floral still lifes does Jamison’s palette begin to quicken with brighter colors. But even in these he maintains a tight, almost fastidious control over the compositions.”
Mr. Jamison was a member of the National Academy of Design, the American Watercolor Society, and the Philadelphia Watercolor Club. In 1975, he was selected by NASA to paint his impressions of the Apollo-Soyuz first-manned international space mission.
“I believe living in West Chester and going to school here influenced my style,” Mr. Jamison said at the induction ceremony. “I’m a small-town person.”
Born in Philadelphia July 3, 1925, Mr. Jamison moved to West Chester with his mother when he was an infant. He illustrated the 1943 West Chester High School yearbook, spent time stateside in the Navy during World War II, and attended the Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts, after the service.
He married artist Jane Gray in 1950, and they lived and worked together in West Chester until her death in 2008. They had a son Philip III, and twin daughters Terry and Linda.
He became widely noticed as an artist in 1958 when he exhibited paintings at the Hotel DuPont Christmas show in Wilmington, and they were admired and then promoted by a New York gallery owner.
“It never occurred to me that I could make a living. I painted for the fun of it,” Mr. Jamison told The Inquirer in 1998.
He especially liked to paint daisies, and he worked daily until a fall in May sent him to the hospital.
Mr. Jamison began collecting art in the late 1970s, and it grew to include works by Horace Pippin and Arthur Carles, one of his great inspirations.
When he wasn’t painting, a young Mr. Jamison liked to play catch in the backyard with his son and sit in his favorite chair to watch TV with the family. He played basketball as a young man, and, a fan of track and field, went to the Penn Relays as often as he could.
Friendly and gregarious, he liked to question people about themselves, where they lived, what they liked, and how they saw the world.
“He had a loving personality,” his son said. “He was very curious about other people.”
In addition to his son and daughters, Mr. Jamison is survived by other relatives.
A private service may be held later.
Donations in his name may be made to the University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19102.