Remembering James Voshell

Baltimore recently lost one of its greats, the artist James Voshell. Voshell was well known as an artist who captured the grittiness and the hardness of the city of Baltimore. He was known to walk through the city streets looking for scenes of what he called everyday life that were particularly nuanced. He received a scholarship to the Maryland institute College of Art and ended up studying with another Baltimore art legend, Joseph Shepard.


Lot 1312, James Voshell. Self Portrait with Porsche, oil (Previously sold at Alex Cooper Auctioneers November 2023)

We are very lucky in Baltimore that we have so many amazing artists surrounding us every day. And their legacies can be felt all over the city. Mr. Voshell passed away in may of this year suddenly and his passing leaves a hole in the artistic community.

Alex Cooper has always had the honor of bringing to auction a lot of the artistic greats from our fine city and the July auction is no different. But, it is particularly poignant as we are bringing three works by the recently passed artist to market. Each of these works presents a different perspective on the talent that he possessed. The first, lot 1211, sees a portrait of a young boy tying his shoe. This work is a perfect representation of his scenes of everyday life. He has captured the boy sort of mid process and the young boy does not engage with viewer but the viewer is somehow drawn into the scene nonetheless.

The second, lot 1212, titled "Baby Stroller" presents an almost comical dichotomy between the innocence of a baby and its stroller and the gritty nightlife and bar scene portrayed by the Pabst Blue Ribbon sign. The viewer is left to wonder where is the baby? And, what statement is Voshell trying to make here?

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Left to right: Lot 1211, James W. Voshell. Boy Tying His Shoes, oil and Lot 1212, James W. Voshell. "Baby Stroller," oil

Our last, lot 1272, is a compilation of female nude figure studies. It is unclear to us whether these were studies for future works or just a amalgamation of female sitters. While this sizeable work is not perfectly suited for every home, it is certainly a statement piece for the right place.


Lot 1272, James W. Voshell. Wall of Nude Studies, oil

We hope that you will take the opportunity to add a work by this storied artist to your collection. And, it is my hope that you will spend a little bit of time thinking about the creative genius of this talented and unique man.

Happy collecting!


Kathleen Hamill
Director, Modern & Contemporary Art