Jim Nutt’s Gulf is a vibrant display of the artist’s painterly precision and uniquely whimsical approach to portraiture. As a founding member of the Chicago Imagists, also known as the Hairy Who, Nutt’s eccentric, hard-edged pictures of surreal dream states and fractious, meticulously rendered sitters have come to define the aesthetic of this pivotal regional movement. The present lot depicts a female nude whose crème and rose flesh contrasts warmly against a beige void, the artist’s frame painted with flowing abstract motifs in chocolate and espresso hues. The sitter’s asymmetrical stare and bewildering nose conjure an otherworldly vision reminiscent of Picasso, challenging the viewer’s preconceived notions of beauty and elegance. Painted in the mature stage of his career, Gulf is an exquisite example of the artist’s capacity for humor, fantasy and sensuality on an intimate scale.