George Deem

1932 – 2008
Best known for his "conceptual realist" painting, which drew references to Old and New Master works, Deem recreated the styles, light, and brushstrokes of the artists he loved, while changing, omitting and adding details. With a particular fondness for Vermeer's work, he wanted the viewer to experience the painting before him as well as the work that came before.

George Charles Deem Jr. was born on August 18, 1932 in Vincennes, Indiana and grew up on his father's cantaloupe farm. He spent a year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before he was drafted into the Army in 1953. He served in the military police in Heidelberg, Germany, and completed his art degree when he returned.

Also an author, his books include How to Paint a Vermeer: A Painter's History of Art (Thames & Hudson, 2004) and Art School, a 1993 book reissued in 2005, also by Thames & Hudson. At his death he was preparing a show of his work to be presented in Manhattan in January 2009.

George Deem died of lung cancer at home in Manhattan on August 11, 2008.