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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Gregory Gillespie

Gregory Joseph Gillespie (November 29, 1936 – April 26, 2000) was an American magic realist painter.

He was born in Roselle Park, New Jersey. After graduating from high school, he became a nondegree student at Cooper Union in New York. In 1959 he married Frances Cohen (1939–1998), who was also an artist, and the following year they moved to San Francisco where Gillespie studied at the San Francisco Art Institute.

In 1962 he received the first of two Fulbright-Hays grants, for travel to Italy to study the work of Masaccio. He lived and worked in Florence for two years, and in Rome for six years, studying the works of such Renaissance masters as Carpaccio, Mantegna, and Carlo Crivelli, who was a particular favorite of Gillespie.
During this time he was awarded three Chester Dale Fellowships and a Louis Comfort Tiffany grant.

He had his first solo show in 1966, at the Forum Gallery in New York. In 1970 he returned to the United States, where he settled in Amherst, Massachusetts. He exhibited in several Whitney Biennials, and in 1977 the Hirshhorn Museum organized a touring retrospective of his work.

Gillespie became known for meticulously painted figurative paintings, landscapes, and self portraits, often with a fantastical element. Many of his early works were made by painting over photographs cut from newspapers or magazines, transforming the scenes through photographic collage and by adding imaginary elements. In his later work he abandoned his early fascination with creating hyper-realized realistic imagery, instead focusing on a looser and more expressive style. He often combined media in an unorthodox way to create shrine-like assemblages.

He was found dead in his studio in Belchertown, Massachusetts, apparently a suicide by hanging, on April 26, 2000.

1936 Born November 29 in Roselle Park, NJ
1954-60 Studied at The Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY
1960-62 B.A. and M.A., San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
1962-63 Lived and worked in Florence, Italy
1964-70 Lived in Rome and at the American Academy in Rome, Italy
1970-2000 Lived and worked in Belchertown, MA

1994 The Augustus St. Gaudens Award, Cooper Union College, New York, NY
1967 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation
1966 Chester Dale Fellowship
1965 Chester Dale Fellowship
1964 Chester Dale Fellowship
1963 Fullbright-Hays Full Grant
1962 Fullbright-Hays Full Grant

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