James Willis Tribal Art

1637 Taylor St
San Francisco, CA 94133

James Willis has been collecting tribal art since 1955, and opened his public gallery in 1972. Initially, the gallery exhibited both tribal and contemporary art. He then specialized in tribal art, and was the first gallery in the United States to hold specific tribal theme exhibits. The public gallery was established for thirty years. He was in business since 1972. He has worked together with his wife Lin Chen-Willis since 1991. Since 2001, he has had a private gallery by appointment.

Since 2003 to present, he has been appointed to four three-year terms to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which advises the President of the United States on Cultural property issues.

He was on the San Francisco Craft and Folk art Museum board; founding member of Friends of Ethnic Art, San Francisco; member of the M. H. De Young Museum Ancient and Tribal Arts Study Committee; Center for African Art, New York: founder and first president of the San Francisco Art Dealers Association; and early member of BRUNEAF, Belgium.

He led trips for collectors to Europe and Africa in the eighties. He and Lin continue to travel extensively worldwide.

He has participated in tribal exhibitions in Brussels, Paris, New York, as well as the San Francisco Caskey-Lees Tribal Show, San Francisco Contemporary Art Show and San Francisco Fall Antiques Show.

He is available for expertise and appraisals for museum tax donations, estate and insurance appraisals. He has been an active appraiser since 1972, for collections such as; the Maxwell Stanley Collection, University of Iowa Museum; Paul Tishman / Walt Disney Collection; Jerry Joss Collection, UCLA; Welcome Collection, UCLA; Christensen Collection, Honolulu Academy of Art; Helen Kuhn Collection, Erle Loran Collection; Dwight and Blossom Strong Collection, San Francisco Fine Arts Museums. He has sold to institutions such as San Francisco Fine Arts Museums, Stanford Cantor Center of Arts, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Minneapolis Art Institute, Saint Louis Museum, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Indianapolis Museum of Art.

He is a lender to museums and traveling exhibitions, including San Francisco Fine Arts Museums; Stanford Cantor Museum; Los Angeles Fowler Museum; Center for African Art, New York; Monterey Museum of Art, Musee Quai Branley, Paris; and institutions such as Bank of America and San Francisco International Airport Bureau of Exhibitions.