2007 Hall of Fame Inductee, James Carlin

James Carlin, 1906-2005
Internationally Acclaimed Watercolor Artist

James Carlin, an internationally acclaimed Nutley artist, was a master in the watercolor medium. He experimented with oils, black and white graphics and stained glass. The winner of many prestigious prizes, including the George A. Zabriskie Award in Water Color presented by the National Academy in New York and the Silver Medal of Honor from the New Jersey Water Color Society, he was active from the years before World War II through the 1970s.

Mr. Carlin’s work has been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Academy of Design, the International Show at the Brooklyn Museum, and the Pennsylvania Academy. It has been shown throughout America as well as Europe and is part of many private and museum collections including the Montclair Art Museum and the Bissell Bedard Galleries in Utica, N.Y. Over the years, he exhibited many of his works in Nutley, frequently in the Community Room at the former Nutley Savings & Loan Association on Franklin Avenue and also at the Nutley Public Library in the early 1990s. The library received a gift of his self portrait in 2006.

Born in Belfast, Ireland in 1906, Mr. Carlin graduated from Belfast Municipal College in 1929. He did his apprenticeship in stained glass at the Campbell Stained Glass Studio and collaborated in designing windows for Londonderry Guild Hall Memorial windows at various prominent churches in Ireland. Stained glass provided the most enduring influence in his work. He came to the United States in 1933.

A resident of Nutley since 1953, Mr. Carlin, his wife Elizabeth and daughters Carol and Sharon resided in a home that was also his studio on Cathedral Avenue when they were not traveling the world in search of subject matter for his paintings. His travels took him to Mexico, France, Portugal and Ireland which are well-represented in his work along with local scenes including the former ITT tower and the Nutley Pub.

In an interview for The Nutley Sun issue of February 9, 1978, Mr. Carlin explained his technique, “I get my inspiration from nature, but I make nature do my bidding on canvas. People have told me that clouds don’t really look the way I sometimes paint them. I paint them the way I want them to look.”

Mr. Carlin taught at Queens College in New York and was also an instructor at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts for 30 years before retiring as head of the school’s fine arts department. He was a member of the American, Philadelphia and New Jersey Water Color societies, the Audubon Artists and the Associated Artists of New Jersey.