Search the Collections

James Harrison Forman
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
San Francisco
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
San Mateo, CA
A commercial artist working in advertising in San Francisco, James Harrison Forman was also a painter of watercolors, depicting California’s landscapes and urban scenes. He was born in San Francisco in 1910. He was a student of Frank Van Sloan (1879-1938), Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) and Charles Henry Grant (1866-1939). He first worked as a commercial illustrator in San Francisco during the 1930s. He moved to New York City in the 1940s to work for the Lawrence Studio creating illustrations for magazines. After a few years he returned to San Francisco, where he painted water color illustrations for such magazines as the Woman’s Home Companion and Parents and provided advertising art for such clients as Ghiradelli Chocolates, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Bank of America. He was a devoted fine art watercolorist in his spare time. A member of the California Watercolor Society, he was part of the watercolor group founded by Dixon and Maurice Logan (1886-1977) known as the “Thirteen Watercolorists.” His subjects included landscapes depicting Marin County, areas around Lake Tahoe and views of Taxco, Mexico, and city scenes from San Francisco. Forman exhibited at the Golden Gate international Exposition in 1939, at the San Francisco Art Association exhibitions in 1939 and 1940 and at a variety of other locations in San Francisco. He died in San Mateo in 1969. (TNB 12/2013) Selected bibliography: Hughes, Edan Milton. Artists in California, 1786-1940. San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Co., 1986. 2nd ed. 1989, p. 187. McClelland, Gordon T. and Jay T. Last. California Watercolors 1850-1970: an Illustrated History & Biographical Dictionary, p. 115. Santa Anna, CA: Hillcrest Press, 2002.