Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the D.J. Hall papers, 1885-2008 (bulk ca. 1970-2008)
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (110.03 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: D.J. Hall papers
    Date (inclusive): 1885-2008 (bulk ca. 1970-2008)
    Collection number: 1822
    Creator: Hall, D.J. (1951- )
    Extent: 27 document boxes (13.25 linear ft.) 6 oversize boxes 2 shoe boxes 2 map folders
    Abstract: D.J. (Debra Jane) Hall is a southern California representational, figurative painter, best known for her portraits of women by poolside. Papers record her personal life and artistic career, including family records, teaching materials, research materials for projects and artwork, documentations of artwork, exhibitions and interviews, as well as original prints and artwork.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of D.J. Hall, October 9, 2008. Addition, 2011.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Rachel H. Wen-Paloutzian in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, 2010. Addition processed by Mike D'Errico in 2012.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia  funds.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], D.J. Hall papers (Collection 1822). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6686093 


    D.J. (Debra Jane) Hall is a southern California representational, figurative painter, best known for her portraits of women by poolside. Hall was born in Los Angeles in 1951. At age three her parents Thomas Lyon and Jane Aven Hall divorced, and Hall's mother was later diagnosed with mental illness. During her uneasy childhood, Hall spent much of her time with her grandparents Margaret Lyon and Edward Mathew Hall in their Santa Ana residence. During these early years, Hall started to cultivate her imagination in drawing. Later, Hall moved to Los Angeles with her mother, where they lived for five years with her maternal grandparents Ruth and Horace Aven. She attended Airport Junior High School and Inglewood High School. With an academic scholarship, Hall attended University of Southern California (USC), and she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts. At USC, Hall met architect Toby Watson, whom she married after her graduation in 1973. Although unaware of the photorealism art movement at the time, Hall developed a distinctive style of realist painting through working with photographs.
    Hall's first solo exhibition was at Albert Contreras Gallery in Los Angeles in 1975. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in painting in 1977. Before Hall turned thirty years old, a solo exhibition of her artwork was held at OK Harris Works of Art in New York. While five subsequent solo exhibitions took place at OK Harris, Hall built an extensive record of solo and group exhibitions throughout United States, Canada, Japan and Europe. In 1982, a documentary film "D.J. Hall: Real Life in Venice" was produced by Robert Crane and Dana Bieber. A year later, Hall designed the imagery painted on the stage set and the scrim panels for "A Sense of Humor," a play written by Ernest Thompson and performed at Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. In 1986, a major solo exhibition at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery presented Hall's artwork from 1974 to 1985.
    In the 1990s, Hall contracted Lyme disease and came to terms with her life-long battle with depression. During her recovery, Hall adopted a new artistic direction as she created small gouache paintings of still life and landscape. After regaining her health, she began to paint larger works. As a painting and life drawing instructor, Hall has taught at various local colleges, and given art lectures in museums and at special events. In 1999, Hall began a teaching life drawing at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. In 2001, Hall participated in "Youth Take Flight", a public art project for the LAX Summer Art Academy. Working with local high school students for six weeks, Hall designed and completed a multi-panel installation at the Los Angeles International Airport Terminal One. In 2004, Hall worked as a Fine Art consultant for the James L. Brooks film "Spanglish," as her artwork inspired the visual appearance of the film. Meanwhile, Hall remained productive creating a new body of work. Her new paintings were displayed in the 2005 solo exhibition at Koplin Del Rio Gallery in West Hollywood. Three years later, the Palms Springs Art Museum exhibited a survey of Hall's artwork, titled "D.J. Hall: Thirty-Five Year Retrospective."
    D.J. Hall currently resides in Venice, California.

    Scope and Content

    D.J. Hall papers document both personal and professional aspects of her life. Personal materials include journals, therapy notes, correspondences, genealogy charts, family records and photographs. Teaching materials include syllabi, lesson plans and notes. Exhibition materials include preparatory materials for exhibitions, exhibition announcements and catalogues, interviews, exhibition reviews and publication clippings. An extensive portion of the collection is dedicated to Hall's projects and artwork, including notes, sketches, storyboards, color studies, designs, source photographs and slides. In addition to audio and video materials revolving Hall's career, the collection houses photographs and slides of artwork, as well as original prints and artwork by Hall, including sketchbooks, college works, life drawings, paintings, and designs.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Papers are organized in six series by item type, and arranged by work and artistic projects in chronological order within series when applicable. The series are as follows:
    1. Personal, 1885-2008 (boxes 1-9, 30-31)
    2. Teaching, 1980-2004 (boxes 10-12, 31)
    3. Exhibition, Interview and Review, 1974-2008 (boxes 13-16)
    4. Research, ca. 1970s-2006 (boxes 16-23, 31)
    5. Audio and Video, 1974-2004 (boxes 24-28, 30)
    6. Artwork, 1966-2008 (boxes 28-34)

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    COLLECTION CONTAINS DIGITAL MATERIALS: Special equipment or further processing may be required for viewing. To access digital materials you must notify the reference desk in advance of your visit.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Hall, D. J. (Debra Jane), 1951- --Archives.
    Women painters --California, Southern --Archival resources.