Jacques De Du-Glass 1898-1993


Siting it within the state of Indiana, in a series of finely drafted, meticulous, and imaginative drawings Jàcques de Dû-Glass created an imaginary town called Lynxbourgh, which he filled with architectural illustrations and landscapes that blur the line between reality and fiction. Dû-Glass was born James Donald Beatty to a single mother who gave him up for adoption. He was raised by the Douglass family on their farm in the outskirts of Warsaw, Indiana (in Kosciusko County), and did not receive a formal education. As a middle-aged man, after reportedly finding that “Douglass” had French origins, he changed his name to Dû-Glass, creating an alter ego befitting the self-taught artist demiurge, the creator of the parallel reality in his work.

Lynxbourgh is not, however, a site of fantastical events or otherworldly creatures, but resembles and incorporates the environment in which Dû-Glass lived: many buildings illustrated have real counterparts, and there are churches and temples, boulevards, lavish suburban homes with tidy gardens, libraries with American flags, fraternal lodges, homesteads, YMCAs, schools, and metropolitan features. Dû-Glass was particularly interested in the visual motif of architecture and in the history of specific buildings in Indiana, but through his subtle tinkering with reality and denotation, as Joseph Yoakum did with his sprawling, imaginary landscapes (p. 247), Dû-Glass found a way to reaffirm his agency and express his ideals. Lynxbourgh strikes the viewer as a Platonic notion, a highly developed place existing only in the mind’s eye but made fully visible on paper.

In his lifetime, Dû-Glass saw only sporadic success, and his career as an artist was fruitless. He was discharged from many jobs and his insecurity about his sexuality caused his marriage to fail. As is the case of so many self-taught artists, Dû-Glass’s work went on to receive posthumous recognition; exhibitions of his art have been held at Carl Hammer Gallery (Chicago), Lindsay Gallery (Columbus, Ohio), and the Outsider Art Fair (New York), and his work was included in the group exhibition Farfetched: Mad Science, Fringe Architecture and Visionary Engineering, curated by Tom Patterson and Roger Manley at the Gregg Museum of Art and Design in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2013.