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James Hueter, artist's artist

March 28, 2009 | 12:00 pm

James At 83, James Hueter is not a perfectionist, exactly. He calls himself “a poor engineer” and laments about taking forever to construct his illusionistic box-like works, by trial and error.  Silver-haired and slight, Hueter works in a simple, high-ceilinged studio just a few steps from the house he designed for himself and his wife, Allie, more than 40 years ago in Claremont.

Over the years, Hueter has built a large body of work — drawings, paintings, sculptures and mixed-media constructions that he calls sculpture/paintings. Realistic images have led to abstractions with haunting evocations of faces and figures. None of this is a secret. An artist of soft-spoken convictions, Hueter has long been in demand as a teacher at Southern California colleges and he has compiled a lengthy résumé of exhibitions. And now at last he's getting his first full-fledged retrospective.  The Claremont Museum of Art has selected 109 works made from 1946 to 2008.

Suzanne Muchnic looks in depth at this quietly impressive career in Sunday's Arts & Books section.

Photo: "Purple Right Chevron, Hallway." Credit: Irfan Khan/L.A. Times