The artistic career of Jess Hager spanned more than 50 years, evolving with and recording the ambiance of a rapidly changing world with a sense of history and romance. His subjects range from historical scenes to contemporary studies, in addition to landscapes, portraits and figure paintings. His nostalgic paintings have the dreamlike quality of fond memories — Pittsburgh street scenes from the turn of the century come to life with familiar landmarks from that proud city.
Born in West Virginia, Hager served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, doing murals and other artwork. A graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh where he later served as assistant director, Hager worked in advertising as an illustrator and designer. He was associated with USX Corporation as an art director and illustrator for 22 years and did a series of paintings for their international operations.
A member of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the Pittsburgh Society of Artists, the Bethel Park Artists Guild and South Arts, Hager conducted workshops and demonstrations in watercolor, his preferred medium because he considered it to be his most rewarding challenge. He especially valued its composition and design qualities — the spontaneity of color and freedom of expression it would afford him.
Hager had many one-man shows, and his award-winning original paintings are included in corporate and private collections all over the world, including the U.S., Europe and Japan.