Jim Houser, artist and art educator: November 12, 1928—July 31, 2021
Jim Houser, 92, of Hobe Sound, died unexpectedly on the way to the hospital, not long before the
opening of a long-planned retrospective exhibition of his paintings in Stuart.
He was born in Dade City, Florida, and grew up in Jacksonville. He began painting at 14. He studied art
primarily at the University of Florida and Florida Southern College. He taught art in Baltimore and in
Kentucky, and eventually became head of the art department at Palm Beach Junior College (now Palm
Beach State College) in Lake Worth. He retired in 1992 and moved from West Palm Beach to Hobe
Sound, where his father had long made his home.
In 1972 he married the love of his life, Connie, who passed away in 2018. Jim is survived by his son,
Jackson, and his daughter Katrina; and another daughter, Ann.
Jim developed his distinctive painting style in the mid-1960’s, after a sudden insight as he walked out to
get the mail. He was struck by the simple-seeming image of a plain gray mailbox against the bright blue
sky. His hard-edge essentialist realism consists of a number of single shapes—sometimes very intricate
shapes—arranged so they simultaneously produce a pleasing abstract design and a recognizable image,
often from an unusual perspective. The images are typically of ordinary objects common in the Eastern
United States, especially on or near the Atlantic coast.
His work is in numerous museums and private collections, and he has been a prize winner in a number of
art competitions. His work has been displayed overseas as well as in the U.S.
He was looking forward to the retrospective, but his heart closed down before that final opening.