I’ve never met the painter Harry Jacobus but his position in San Francisco art history is unassailable, and his romantic vision has this sort of, oh I don’t know, sublime excess that speaks to me even today. Maybe you have to be in the right mood to get him, and perhaps that’s why his reputation is highest among poets, musicians, and other artists. That’s just a guess on my part. The work is decorative, pleasing, and stops just this side of florid, but all these things are true of Cezanne, right, and yet Harry Jacobus is a name unknown except for, hmmm, I am tempted to use the term cognoscenti even though that seems dead wrong! But I do love him.
Some find his work unbearably twee, even trite. If you find the early, romantic pictures of Jess too sincere, you are definitely not man enough to stare down the limpid realities of Jacobus at his most characteristic. (With Jess and the poet Robert Duncan, Harry Jacobus founded the legendary King Ubu Gallery on Fill... More