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GILBERT LEWIS MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

WoodmereArtMuseum


Woodmere extends sincere thanks and appreciation to an anonymous donor and the Edna W. Andrade Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation for its generous support of the catalogue and exhibition.


GILBERT LEWIS MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

CONTENTS Foreword by William R. Valerio 4 A Conversation About Gilbert Lewis 6 Selected Chronology 30 Works in the Exhibition 42

July 25–October 25, 2020

WoodmereArtMuseum


FOREWORD My friend, the abstract painter Bill Scott, introduced me to the work of Gilbert Lewis many years ago. At first sight, I was immediately curious, and agreed with Bill that Lewis offers a vision of the figurative arts that is visually distinctive, quirky, and rich. As time went on, I wanted to know more and to this day I continue to find elements of individual works that draw me in, feed my curiosity, and make me think about big ideas. For example, in a shirtless portrait torso of an anonymous young man, the different “personalities” of right and left eye, and the asymmetry of the delicate mouth reveal the complexity of a youth whose adulthood is in the process of becoming. This in turn stands as a more general statement about personhood as an evolution, which is perhaps Lewis’s most consistent interest. Lewis is also a master technician who experimented constantly and worked in a manner that continuously pushed the boundaries of his skills. He loved costume and generally encouraged his sitters to pose in attire of their own choosing. Sometimes they challenged him, and so the figure of an unknown man in a tuxedo becomes a tour de force of black-on-black

Untitled, August 1983, (Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017)

textures. Thank you, Bill, for bringing Lewis into Woodmere’s fold. With many works of art from throughout the

lifes and portraits made of seniors while he worked

trajectory of the artist’s career now in our

as an art therapist. Lewis’s work is also remarkable

collection, Woodmere becomes the proud steward

for expressing a gay male vision of sensuality,

of the artist’s legacy. We are deeply grateful for

theatricality, and humor starting in the late 1960s.

many gifts of art from James G. Fulton, Jr. and

He engages with humanity from the perspective

Eric Rymshaw, the artist’s onetime lover and now

of a queer eye when mainstream American culture

caretaker. Thank you for your trust. This exhibition

was not ready for it.

showcases the range of Lewis’s output, integrating figurative works—both nude and clothed—with still

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time of this writing, Lewis is struggling with illness, and sales of his paintings are his lifeline. Two commercial gallerists have also been passionately engaged in selling Lewis’s work: Patrick Terenchin of terenchingallery.com and Sam Kapp of Kapp Kapp, a relatively new gallery in both New York and Philadelphia. Kapp Kapp’s exhibition, Gilbert Lewis: The Mind of Man, is on view in the Philadelphia gallery from September 11 through October 24, 2020. Woodmere’s exhibition is supported by an anonymous donor and by the Edna Andrade Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation. We must Untitled, February 14, 1982 (Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017)

raise every penny for every exhibition we wish to present, and we are eternally grateful to our generous donors.

Woodmere’s exhibition is part of a multivenue exploration of Lewis’s work. The Pennsylvania

Woodmere’s curatorial team, particularly Laura

Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) will offer

Heemer, Rachel Hruszkewycz, Rick Ortwein, and

Only Tony: Portraits by Gilbert Lewis, on view

Hildy Tow, poured heart, soul, and professional skill

from November 19, 2020 through May 16, 2021.

into making this exhibition the success it is sure

As always, the collaboration with curator Jodi

to be, and did so while facing all the challenges

Throckmorton is wonderful. Her concept is to

particular to opening on the day we reopen the

explore the complex relationship that unfolds

museum after the period of closure due to the

between Lewis, who attended PAFA, and one of

COVID-19 pandemic. A museum couldn’t have a

his favored models, Anthony Rullo. What could be

more talented and dedicated staff. Thank you all.

more interesting than to engage in today’s terms with a creative practice that has been at the heart of our country’s longest-standing art academy? Janus Ourma and Aaron Feltman are spearheading

WILLIAM R. VALERIO, PHD

The Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director and CEO

an online exhibition of Lewis’s work at the William Way LGBT Community Center, their goal being to make the works available for purchase. At the

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A CONVERSATION ABOUT GILBERT LEWIS

On April 27, 2020, Woodmere director William Valerio and assistant curator Rachel Hruszkewycz spoke about Gilbert Lewis’s life and work with a group of the artist’s friends and colleagues. Joining them were Eric B. Rymshaw, Fury Design; Jody Pinto and Bill Scott, artists; Noël Butcher Hanley, former gallery owner; Patrick Terenchin, Terenchin Gallery; Christopher Reed, professor, Pennsylvania State University; Jodi Throckmorton, curator, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; and Anthony Rullo, former model. WILLIAM VALERIO: Three main areas of Gilbert’s

work have always interested me. The first is his queer subject matter—he was way ahead of his time, certainly in terms of Philadelphia, with his open, honest engagement with the gay community. The second is his technical virtuosity, the delicacy of his work. And the third is his sense of humor— his work is a serious enterprise, but sometimes there are goofy, quirky, even cartoonlike aspects. For example, the couple in the blue and purple shirts with their narrowed physiques and heads—I smile when I see them and understand, from their complimentary outifts, and intimate hand gestures, that they are a good match. Let’s start by hearing from some of you who know Gilbert personally. ERIC RYMSHAW: I met Gilbert at Equus Bar when

I was twenty-six. We became boyfriends and lived together for almost two and a half years. During that time, half of the apartment was his studio, and he was painting constantly. He loved art and we would often go to museums. I remember we stalked David Hockney one day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He loved Hockney, but he wouldn’t go up and say hello to him, so we stalked him through the entire museum. That was, I guess, 1980. 6

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Untitled, August 25, 1983 (Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Noël Butcher Hanley, 2016)


critiques, which lasted all day. Pittman had quite a following at PAFA. He was brilliant and theatrical in his observations. Gil’s paintings were small and quiet. When Pittman looked at them, he would draw close, turn and look at Gil and speak about music, pattern, early Italian painting. At the end, in a very quiet auditorium, he would raise his hand in a “perfecto” gesture to Gil. He made it, in a sense, all right without saying anything, without labeling anything. He made it all right for us to have serious critiques of our work—I can’t tell you how critical that was at that time. Those critiques were not only about the impact Winners of PAFA’s 1967 Cresson travel scholarship, left to right, back row: Bruce Samuelson, Estelle Rosen, William Martone, Jody Pinto, and James Victor, front row: Robert Magee and Gilbert Lewis. Winner Henry Widemaier is not pictured. Photograph courtesy of the Gilbert Lewis Archive.

of artistic influence. We’re talking about the period from 1964 until we graduated in 1968. There wasn’t much encouragement, nor was work taken very seriously if it digressed from what was normally seen at PAFA.

Gilbert was very shy then. He loved the fact that he could disappear in his studio and paint—he was

Gil and I both won Cresson traveling scholarships. Gil

an intense painter. He painted all the time, always

sold some of his work and so did I. My father used to

looking for ways to paint and people to paint. I

say, “If you win that award, you better be very careful

think that for Gilbert painting gay subjects gave him

in Italy.” So I had it in my head that Naples was

a chance to meet interesting young men without

devilish, even though Dad came from an area very

going to bars. To be frank, I think that was part

close to Naples. When we won, we decided to travel

of the fascination for him, that these young men

together.

would sit and talk to him while he painted. He had incredible relationships with a lot of his models. I don’t think he ever thought of himself as a gay man painting gay subjects. He simply was who he was. After we broke up, Gilbert and I stayed friends. He has dementia now, so my husband and I take care of him, and we manage his estate. JODY PINTO: I went to school with Gil. We were in

the same year at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). There was a group of us—gay men and women. Gil and I were very different in terms of personality, but I loved his sense of humor. We really connected when we went to Hobson Pittman’s

Well, Gil and I went to Europe, and it was the most extraordinary, life-changing experience for both of us. It was the year of the great flood in Florence. It was 1967, just before the great student protests in Europe exploded. In Amsterdam, the bicycles were painted white in protest. We stayed at a gay hotel there. When we went to Spain, Franco was still alive, unfortunately, and there was a ten o’clock curfew. We never met the curfew. We were usually banging on the doors of hotels, begging to get in. I began to understand Gil as a gay man in a very intimate way. We would go to museums and there would be GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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two guards at the door, often dressed in military

War at the Prado. We had been chatting, but when

outfits. I would say, “Gil, I’ll meet you at twelve,” and

we saw those we both were so moved. Then we

he’d disappear. I’d be waiting for an hour or so, and I

turned into a long room with the “dark” paintings on

noticed he would come back with one of the guards.

either side. There was Third of May flanked by two

I began to realize that Gil had this other life.

self-portraits: Goya in his youth and as an old man.

RYMSHAW: First of all, Gilbert was adorable. As shy

as he was, when he decided he liked a man he was not shy at all. He went right for it with no hesitation, and he was quite overt. I remember he followed me up the stairs that night at the bar, and there was no getting away from it. As shy as he could be at a social event or a gallery, when he knew what he wanted, he went for it. I think with his models he was the same way. PINTO: He was cute as anything. When we were

in Spain, I remember we saw Goya’s Disasters of

We felt that the curator understood what Goya had seen by placing those there. We didn’t talk much for the rest of the day. It was such a powerful experience to see paintings that we’d always seen in reproduction in the flesh, only inches away. As we walked around Madrid, we understood it was only twenty years since World War II; there were people without arms or without legs, pock-marked buildings with gigantic holes from the bombings. I know it stunned him. It certainly stunned me. You can see in many of Gil’s portraits that he loved to paint pattern and fabric. When we were in Florence, we stopped in a gift shop. He saw some marble eggs that had beautiful patterns. He made a beeline for a basket of them and said, “My mother would love these.” (He used to talk about his mother a lot.) I said, “Gil, they’re marble, let’s take one or two.” He said, “No, I want her to have a dozen eggs.” I asked him how we were going to carry a dozen marble eggs. He said, “No, they won’t be heavy.” We walked from the Uffizi through Florence to our hotel with twelve marble eggs. It was hot and they weighed a ton! Another memory I have is when we saw Michelangelo’s David at the Uffizi. I had always thought of it as a tourist attraction that you had to see. It was early, and there were only a few people in the gallery, and when we came around to the front—at the time you approached it from the side—you just lost words. We’d been talking as we approached, and then that was it. We just stood mute in front of this extraordinary work.

Untitled, 1989 (Courtesy of John Wind)

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Lewis, 1983. Photograph courtesy of the Gilbert Lewis Archive.

Untitled, 1989 (Courtesy of Noël Butcher Hanley)

We went just about everywhere we could: France,

Those were a wonderful two years. I would look

Spain, Amsterdam, Brussels, London. We couldn’t

at his work, he would look at mine. His work then,

go to Greece because the junta had just taken over.

which is what I’m most familiar with because I

It was such a time in Europe. I was so thrilled it

moved back to New York in 1980, was extremely

was that year that we went. I sensed a different Gil

quiet. That’s the best way I can describe it. You

on our way back. We were both changed by the

felt that. When you looked at his watercolors, his

experience and the freedom and friends we met in

gouaches and paintings, most of the work was

Amsterdam.

small, but you wanted to move closer, instinctively.

Part of the award included a free year at PAFA,

Some of it felt dreamlike.

which was wonderful. We didn’t know what to

RYMSHAW: Gilbert and my husband and I went to

do with ourselves, in terms of where we were

Italy together in the 1990s. We spent two weeks

going to live, so we found a place on South Street.

running all over on a bus with fifty other gay

Talking about his sense of humor: I didn’t cook very

men—we had the best time, and we went to every

much, but Gil was a good cook. He could open the

museum. Gilbert always talked about the fact that

refrigerator door, there’d be a jar of peanut butter,

your trip, Jody, is what started it all in the way he

some pasta, and maybe something else hanging on

paints portraits. He wanted his portraits to be like a

the door. He could make a wonderful dinner out of

Flemish portrait. He wanted them to have the color

three ingredients. When I tried to cook, Gil would

and the texture of the classic Italian portraits.

come over and look in the pan and say, “Hmmm, crispy fritters,” meaning that I had burnt whatever it was that I was cooking.

VALERIO: The Dancer, with his curled bangs, delicate

hands, and velour shirt always reminded me of a GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Dancer, 1989 (Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017)

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Renaissance prince. At the same time, Gilbert’s realist approach is to paint what he sees. He takes visual experience as his subject. That’s one approach to realism, and one that I think of as very PAFA. JODI THROCKMORTON: He was on the PAFA

track, or that traditional PAFA track in some ways with his painting, but did this amazing turn, this twist away from it that is incredibly interesting to me. PAFA has long been known for its strength in teaching a more traditional, academic style of representational painting, which seems foundational to Gilbert’s work; yet, he developed a style that was all his own. Consciously or not, Gilbert was getting into the politics of representation and the development of a queer gaze through his painting. Also, his style is wonderfully strange and bold, especially for the time, not conservative or focused on realistic depiction. CHRISTOPHER REED: His history isn’t the New

York history. It isn’t the Leslie-Lohman galleries

A Bald-Headed Man with a Striped Shirt, 1980, by Alice Neel (Museum purchase, 2020)

of gay art in the 1970s that were explicitly erotic, people like Delmas Howe. It’s a different story. It’s Philadelphia’s story. BILL SCOTT: I think, in his mind, his portraits of

men were his visual and technical response to Italian Renaissance painters: Memling, Dürer, and other earlier artists whose work he loved and admired. I always felt his way of presenting people against a detailed or graphically flat background reflected this. Yet, the way he painted portraits also shared an affinity with the works of Alice Neel as well as, more obviously, to Hockney. Looking back, I see him now as a bridge between those two painters and someone like Elizabeth Peyton and maybe even Kehinde Wiley. I don’t know if Gilbert would see it that way, or if anyone else would. I know his

painting tradition we associate with Philadelphia. He lived here, but I think he painted to a bigger world far removed from Philadelphia. THROCKMORTON: I totally agree, Bill. I think it’s

Alice Neel meets David Hockney meets northern Renaissance art. Someone who keeps coming to my mind is Hugh Steers, who was a New York painter. Certainly his work was much more narrative than Gilbert’s, but Jody mentioned that gentleness and that stillness and that vulnerability that I see in both Hugh’s and Gilbert’s work. SCOTT: Or Stanley Spencer. THROCKMORTON: Ah, that’s interesting.

work and subject matter belong to a type of realist GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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VALERIO: One of the hallmarks I look for in good

realist paintings is the ability to tell a story through the details. That’s a foundation of the PAFA way, going back to Thomas Eakins. So, for example, in one of Gilbert’s untitled portraits of a young man from 1989, the dagger-in-heart tattoo, symbol of betrayed love, is a key to understanding the emotions of the figure. Or, another subtle narrative moment: in the painitng of a Mummer, the person’s kitchen is visible along the left edge. Again, thinking of Gilbert’s sense of humor, this outlandishly costumed creature has a very ordinary kitchen. ANTHONY RULLO: That’s Gilbert’s studio, his

apartment.

VALERIO: Ah, so that’s his own kitchen. RULLO: Yes. He did a painting of me at that time

wearing half of a Mummer’s costume. I don’t think he ever finished it. He was doing something specifically for the Mummers, and the costumes were loaned to him from the Mummers Museum. It was part of a larger project, some time in the mid-1970s. Gilbert was among a number of artists commissioned to depict Mummers for a window display exhibition at the Lit Brothers department store at 7th and Market Streets. I know there was one man wearing a headdress that was blue with feathers and sequins all around his face. VALERIO: So this was a coherent series of works

focused on Mummers? RULLO: I believe so. The Mummers Museum had a

special project, an anniversary or something. RYMSHAW: Every now and then when I look

through Gilbert’s work, I’ll find a fantasy painting like one of a man dancing with fans and kitschy wallpaper. PINTO: Absolutely. They’re dreamlike. That’s the

best and only way I can describe it. Often there is that quiet, unselfconscious, steady gaze that reminds me of Diane Arbus photographs. RYMSHAW: Jody, do you know about the

photograph of the two of you drawing in the cast room at PAFA? It’s the centerfold of Gloria Etting’s book, Philadelphia: The Intimate City (1968). PINTO: Oh, for heaven’s sake, that’s funny—we

both hated cast drawing! Liz Osborne was the only woman teacher at PAFA at the time, and I think they gave her cast drawing. Unfortunately, I had already taken the class by that time. Untitled, 1989 (Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017)

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Untitled, February 2, 1982 (Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017)

VALERIO: Tony, you had a unique relationship with

talked about. I just know he liked painting what he

Gilbert. What was it like modeling for him?

liked to paint. He would tell me that all the time: “I

RULLO: I modeled for Gilbert from about 1985 up

to around 1996. He started painting my roommate, and my roommate introduced me to Gilbert. I know he met a lot of models that way. I would tell people about my experience, they would see the pictures,

paint what I like, and if people don’t like it that’s fine. Someday they’re going to discover my work and I’m going to be famous,” and that’s it. I know he loved painting from live models, and he probably would have done it twenty-four hours a day if he could.

and then they would want to pose also. I probably

As far as what it was like to model for him, the first

got him about twenty different models, just through

time I went to model for him, of course, I was a

friends and people that lived in the neighborhood.

nervous wreck. I saw nude paintings everywhere,

I know he got a lot of models when he worked at

which for me was shocking. I’m not an artist, I don’t

the art store. There were a lot of art students who

know anything about art. I had lived in the city

would model.

maybe like two years before I met Gilbert. So, right

You talked about Gilbert being a queer artist and painting gay subject matter. As far as the experience that I had, that wasn’t something we

off the bat I was nervous, thinking, is he going to ask me to take my clothes off? What’s going to happen here? That was not the case. He could tell I

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was nervous, and he just told me, “Do whatever you want, pose however you’d like, wear whatever you want.” And that’s what you did—you would wear whatever clothes you wanted to wear. After knowing him for some time, I asked him, “Why would some people walk in and just take their clothes off? That makes no sense to me.” He said, “Well, that’s just what they wanted to do. That’s what they’re comfortable doing.” I was not comfortable doing that for a very long time. It wasn’t until years later that I started doing nude paintings. The last couple of years that I modeled for him, the paintings were nudes because once I posed nude, I discovered it was so much easier to model nude than have to worry about my clothes and leaving clothes at his house so that he could paint the shirt properly and things like that. I loved modeling for him because he was so interesting. I’d walk in and we’d have these twohour conversations about things that I wouldn’t otherwise be talking about. He could look at the most ordinary thing and tell me how beautiful it was. I’d never looked at things like that before. That’s exactly the kind of thing we would talk about. There’d be some color, and he would just go on and on about how beautiful this color was. I would think, it’s just red, what’s the big deal? He loved clothes, too. He loved it when I was excited about something I bought. He would say, “Oh, let me paint you in that.” He loved to paint fabric. NOËL BUTCHER HANLEY: I always enjoyed

the richness of the color of the clothing and the Top: Untitled, date unknown (Private Collection); Bottom: Untitled, 1987 (Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017)

contrasts to the skin tones. It doesn’t get any lusher. Tony, you’re reminding me, Gilbert painted a double portrait of me and my first husband. I thought hard about what to wear, and I have to admit I was being a little devilish. I thought, okay, I’m going to throw

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Above left: Untitled [Copy of a Greek Portrait, I], date unknown (Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017); Above right: Untitled [Copy of a Greek Portrait, II], date unknown (Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017)

him something that he just won’t be able to handle;

THROCKMORTON: It seems to me, and I’m happy

it happened to be a sweater that I absolutely loved.

to say this, that Gilbert really respected his models.

There was raised stitching here and there and

At a moment when we’re talking so much about

everywhere, and different little knobs of color and

photographer Chuck Close and his relationships

silver buttons. I thought, ah, I’d love to see the way

with his models, it feels like Gilbert was giving his

he deals with this. I had to scratch my head and go,

models the power to decide how they were posed,

you did it! I don’t know how you did it, but you did

or what they wore, which I think is pretty inventive.

it!

It was certainly inventive for PAFA at the time, when

RULLO: I used to do the same thing. I would wear

it was typically women serving as the nude models.

something and I would say, “I have a challenge for

HANLEY: Jodi, I’m thinking of Alex Katz and his

you.” He did a painting of me and I was wearing a

connection to his wife, but also the models he used.

black lace shirt. It was completely see-through. He

Although they’re beautiful, they strike me as being

did another picture of me in a shirt I found in a thrift

so much flatter than what Gil would do. It’s not that

store. It was the most hideous chartreuse, yellowy-

he had anything fancy going on in the background;

green color. The fabric was puckery, and it was

it’s just the way he handled it was so much more

sheer. You could see right through it. He was like,

complex, and I felt more beautiful and interesting.

“I’m going to kill you.” I had to leave that shirt at his house for about two months so he could work on painting it properly.

RYMSHAW: Did he ask you about yourself? Did he

ask you personal questions and want to know who you were? GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Lewis with Interior, July 1988. Photograph by Richard Kagan. Photography courtesy of the Gilbert Lewis Archive.

RULLO: Oh yeah, it was like going to talk to a

psychiatrist with him. RYMSHAW: He was never an aloof artist who

simply painted the subject that was in front of him. Top: Untitled, 1987 (Private Collection); Bottom: Interior, 1988 (Gift of Bill Scott, 2016)

He had all kinds of relationships with these models— needless to say, he was a gay man and he had a lot of fun with some of these models, but they were all personalities and he enjoyed all of them. When we were together, I was like the house frau. I would make dinner for him and his model.

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RULLO: Sometimes he would do pictures of me

think I also met him either through Joe Amarotico,

and they didn’t look like me. I would say, “Well,

or his then-assistant Anthony Ciambella. When

why doesn’t it?” He would say, “Well, it’s not about

he was starting to exhibit his work with Noël, in

looking like you, it’s about how I see you.” That

the early 1980s, he asked me to pose for him. I

was always his thing. If you look at them, most of

was shy and now, of course, I regret that I ignored

the pictures don’t even look like me. I don’t feel a

his request. But I remained friendly with Gilbert

relationship to the pictures like that. I just look at

and his boyfriend, Douglas Bealer, who was also a

the pictures as paintings that Gilbert did. Looking

painter. Our friendship was one-on-one—we never

back now, years later, I see myself, but at the time

went out to parties together. He always offered

I didn’t. I suppose I was so involved in the process

extraordinarily helpful advice and suggestions on

that now I see them in a different way.

paints and other art supplies to try. I lost touch with

RYMSHAW: I’ve wondered about that because,

looking at his paintings, a lot of them seem distorted or exaggerated, or he turns the models into heroes, he idealizes them. I’ve always wondered what the models thought of these images of themselves. They’re naturalistic but not realistic a lot of times.

him for a while, but about six or seven years ago I ran into him on the street and realized something was wrong. So, I began regularly stopping by his house to check on him. He was no longer painting and I don’t think he had painted for some time. About two years ago, Tony and I went to see him at the Watermark, where Eric and Jim initially situated

RULLO: Bill described the paintings as cartoonlike

and that’s accurate. I always thought the same. RYMSHAW: I should mention that one of the things

that’s been great about this whole journey is that I’ve gotten to know Bill Scott as a result of Gilbert’s ailing health. Bill has been an incredible other half managing this portfolio. Gilbert never stopped painting, and he never sold a lot of art. I’m going to exaggerate and say there were four hundred framed and unframed portraits and still lifes in his studio. Bill has done an incredible job of managing it and helping me sell it and show it and get it into places, and because of his connections shows like these are happening. SCOTT: Thanks, Eric. I met Gilbert around 1974 or

1975 when I started art school—he had already left PAFA by then and was working at South Street Art Supply, across the street from where I lived then. I

Doorway, 1989 (Gift of Bill Scott, 2016)

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Above left to right: Untitled [Dennis Dunwoody], December 2, 1981 (Museum purchase, 2020); Untitled [Dennis Dunwoody], October 10, 1981 (Museum purchase, 2020)

him after moving him from his house. He had been

would have been the early to mid-1980s, we knew it

making portraits of some of his caregivers and

wasn’t a show that would have a huge sales history,

drawing in coloring books. After some prompting—

but from my point of view that wasn’t the point. The

basically we put a pencil in his hand—he drew

point was to acknowledge the quality and beauty

portraits of both Tony and me.

of his work, in a tricky time to be representing male

VALERIO: Noël, you showed Gilbert’s work at your

gallery? HANLEY: I was his dealer for a while, and we got

along, I feel, very well. RYMSHAW: He loved you.

nudes. I don’t believe the show hit you over the head with the fact that it was gay art, but of course the fact that there were no female nudes might give you a hint. RHYMSHAW: He didn’t like the gallery system. He

hated being in gallery settings. He loved having shows. He was very neurotic about the show

HANLEY: We started out by showing the still lifes,

system. He was not comfortable being in the

which are just gorgeous. I remember particularly

galleries when his work was up. He was often very

the way he used white; it was really amazing the

odd about how he would select pieces to put in a

way he handled the material. His second one-man

gallery versus what he did in his studio and kept

show with me was the male nudes. In my opinion,

secret. I was always intrigued by the way he would

of course, my totally unbiased opinion, it was a

pick pieces to show.

phenomenal show. In Philadelphia at the time, this 18

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Untitled [Dennis Dunwoody], July 15, 1982 (Private Collection)

HANLEY: He had an interesting way of selecting

RYMSHAW: I think you’re right. Gilbert’s portraits

them. After a few years went by, I spent some

were of people nobody knew. The idea of owning

time driving Gil to New York to try to get him

a picture of somebody you don’t know, who wasn’t

representation in galleries there. That didn’t go as

George Washington or your children, is unlikely.

well for probably some of the obvious reasons. It

Gilbert was also never good at commissions. He had

was not easy work to sell, but certainly work that

to be completely inspired by the person he met, and

should be shown, and should be appreciated, and

the minute he was asked to paint someone’s child

should be acknowledged, in my opinion.

or anything like that, he could never quite finish the paintings.

GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Still Life with Tulip, 1984 (Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017)

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VALERIO: Noël, which of your clients purchased

My mother never bought one of those paintings,

Gil’s work? You said the still lifes did well. You

however.

organized the male nudes without the expectation that they would sell well. HANLEY: The still lifes, that was definitely an easier

sell—design firms, private clients, that kind of thing. The male nudes, there was not a line at the door to buy them. That’s not to say people didn’t come and appreciate them. But frankly I knew that. My gallery was a little different from the Philadelphia art scene at that time, in that I represented a smaller group of artists, and I wasn’t representing what I felt

PATRICK TERENCHIN: At the exhibition openings,

who showed up? Was it a gay cultural event? HANLEY: Well, openings in my gallery were pretty

packed, and then there was always a mixed group of people. Gil had the most attractive models around, so all these gorgeous men would come in. It wasn’t overtly one way or the other. But there were more than the usual number of very attractive men at Gil’s openings, I will say that.

was commercial art. I would never put Gil’s work in

TERENCHIN: I’m just interested if the community

the category of commercial art. Be that as it may,

rallied around him in any way.

that meant I was counting on a big corporate sale every month to allow me to show the people I really

RULLO: I think no, because I remember one time

wanted to show, Gil being one of them. I think I met

when a gay organization asked him to donate a

him through Joe Amarotico, whom I also exhibited.

painting for an auction, which he sometimes did, he

Or it could have been you, Eric, because you used

was a little bothered. I remember him complaining

to come to my first gallery. As Eric said, portraiture

to me, “Why am I always asked to support the

is difficult anyway, unless you know the person, but

gay community? I’m trying to sell pictures and

when you add to that what people consider gay art,

gay people aren’t buying my pictures. The gay

that heightened the problem in terms of selling it.

community doesn’t support me!” Something else I just recalled, Gilbert would always say “pictures,”

My mother, in particular, never liked the fact that

not paintings—he explained to me that “I’m

my whole working life I’ve been working in the

PAINTING a PICTURE.” So I usually say “picture”

arts. So, needless to say, she never came into my

when I talk about his work.

gallery even though we had reviews all the time, and there was no way she could miss what I was

RYMSHAW: He wasn’t prominent in the gay

doing. I remember one Friday—and for those of

community.

you who may not know, Friday is ladies’ day at the orchestra—my mother and her friends got into town early, so I guess because they had nothing else to do she decided to bring them into my gallery, and it was during one of Gil’s shows. My mother was shocked. I have to tell you, her friends lingered so much that I was worried they were going to miss the curtain. I had a good chuckle with Gil over that

SCOTT: In 1990 Gilbert was in a five-person show

of figure paintings at Moore College of Art. Gilbert was by far the best one in the show. Many painters I knew thought he was a great painter, but even many of those artists didn’t really embrace his work because it seemed too gay. It was difficult enough to convince someone to buy a portrait of someone they didn’t know. Most art dealers back then GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Above: Sick Boy, 1987 (Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017); Right: Untitled [Tony drawing at an easel], 1989 (Collection of Ed and Ellen Bicke) Photography courtesy of Anthony Rullo

wouldn’t even have attempted or known how to persuade a client to buy one of Gilbert’s paintings of naked men. HANLEY: It’s a problem that I’m not sure has really

dissipated as we speak. To go back to the question about the openings for his shows, I think some of the other dealers in town might have been thrilled that I was dealing with his work, because, frankly, I’m not sure if any other galleries on the scene at the time would have shown it. SCOTT: When Rosenfeld showed Gilbert in 1994—

that was one of his last exhibitions in Philadelphia— Gilbert said he hadn’t wanted him to show any nudes. There may have been two nudes and there ended up being some portraits, including the one of Tony wearing a gray shirt. But the exhibition mostly consisted of still lifes and cityscapes. I’m sure that 22

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RACHEL HRUSZKEWYCZ: Quite a large part of

our show is actually his portraits of elderly people. I think the public will really engage with this series. Gilbert painted these while working as an art therapist at Manchester House in Media. He was an art therapist there for twenty years. RYMSHAW: He loved these people. He was always

trying to help them understand what an art therapist did. It was always a struggle, because it looked like an arts and crafts project. So he decided that every Friday he would take his pad and his colors and his brushes, and he would interview one Untitled, c. 1981-1985 (Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017)

of the residents. He would sit and talk with them and learn about them while he painted them. He did this every Friday for years. It was his way of doing something other than the typical projects you do

was because Rosenfeld thought those were the

with people who need to be occupied. He always

works he was most likely to sell. People exhibited

liked the man with his bird. He loved this man. They

Gilbert’s work because they respected him as an

would talk all the time.

artist, yet outside of a small group of people his figure paintings were more difficult then than they

VALERIO: I do want to ask about Sick Boy. Eric, can

seem now. So it wasn’t easy for Gilbert, but he could

you tell us the story behind that picture?

also be very distant and wasn’t the easiest person to deal with. TERENCHIN: I’d like to talk a little bit about

RYMSHAW: This boy lived at the senior home

where Gil worked. The drawing was shown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of a juried show

Gilbert’s work—Bill (Valerio), you actually introduced

about Philadelphia. It’s amazing because it’s all

me to it. I was at Woodmere a few months ago and

individual pieces of paper that are taped together

you put me in touch with Bill and Eric, and as soon

from the back. I’m not sure why he did it that way.

as I saw the work I knew how important it was, not just from a technical standpoint. He is so important to Philadelphia’s history, gay history, and art history. You can separate the two if you want. I’m excited to get young artists interested in his work. Also, I’m interested in getting the gay community in Philadelphia interested in his work for the upcoming shows.

RULLO: Gilbert talked about that picture a lot.

It was hanging on the wall in his studio on South Street and it’s in the background of some of his paintings of me. He told me the young man was severely disabled and the only place that could properly care for him at the time was the Manchester House. Gilbert liked spending time with him because he was so young and didn’t really fit in with the older residents.

GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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VALERIO: We haven’t talked enough about the

nudes. There are several major works and particular explorations that will be highlighted in our show that we need to mention. In the mid-1980s, for example, there’s a special group of almost-lifesized nude figures rendered in a stylized, silver-gray palette. They have an otherworldly atmosphere, combined with a sense of emotion that comes from especially dramatic poses and body language. Other nudes are as much Lewis’s expression of the personality of the sitter as are the clothed portraits. For example, there are a number of very funny nudes that Gilbert’s friend, Dennis Dunwoody, posed for. Different pictures bring out the details of his unusually thin physique and convey his wit. In one work, he stands in profile, his hands casting a shadow that would suggest a gigantic penis. I’m told that the joke was about the famously suggestive sculpture of William Penn atop Philadelphia’s City Hall. There’s another portrait Untitled, c. 1982 (Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017)

of Dunwoody, seated in a shirt and no pants, and Gilbert appears topless in a mirror. This suggests to me an intimacy, and I understand they were

VALERIO: I want to ask about the drag queen. RYMSHAW: Sometimes his model would join us for

dinner. This was one of the people I cooked for, and I watched him get ready for this portrait. I had no idea—I was very young and very naïve at the time. I

friends, but, Tony or Eric, did Gilbert have sexual relationships with any of his models? RULLO: [laughing] Not with me! Seriously, though,

that was not a tension that arose in our relationship as painter and model.

was astounded by the transformation. In the 1970s,

RYMSHAW: When Gilbert was interested in sex,

there was a serious drag scene in Philadelphia,

he wasn’t shy about it. But his relationship with

made famous by the Vanguard Vanities. The

his models overall was intimate on an intellectual

Vanguard motorcycle club would do a drag musical

and psychological level. Knowing him, I wouldn’t

every two years at the Mask and Wig Club. This guy

be surprised if the relationship, from time to time,

was totally into it, and it was great fun to watch him

became physical. He was no prude, and was

transform himself over dinner before he posed for

always in touch with his sexuality as part of his

Gilbert.

identity in a positive way. Remember, there was a “therapy” dimension to being an art therapist, and

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Untitled [Dennis Dunwoody], February 22, 1982 (Courtesy of Victor and Anne DiMezza)

GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Left: Reclining, 1987 (Museum purchase, 2016); Above: Tribute, September 5, 1984 (Museum purchase, 2017)

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he understood sexuality as a component of human

To me, it also represents a queer take on the old

life. Throughout this conversation, we described a

masters, although it’s more baroque in spirit than

spiritual, humanitarian relationship on many levels

Reclining. I wonder what thoughts anyone has

between Gilbert and his sitters. That’s what fuels his

about Tribute?

work.

RULLO: It’s an unusual work for its scale. It

TERENCHIN: What do we know about Dennis

depicts a ménage-a-trois, but it may be that the

Dunwoody?

same model posed for all three figures. As we’ve

VALERIO: Gilbert traded art for haircuts, and met

Dennis at the salon of his hairdresser and friend, Victor DiMezza. I’m told that Dennis, like Gilbert, came to Philadelphia from the South, and built a life for himself as a gay man. He owned a vintage clothing store and is remembered for his sense of humor. He also had a striking physical presence, and was known for wearing platform shoes with sparkling heels at a time when it really turned heads to see a man in heels walking down 19th Street in Center City, where the salon was located.

described, portrait likenesses weren’t always important to Gilbert. Tribute seems composed and planned, more so than a depiction of something that was happening in the studio. VALERIO: Any final thoughts before we close? SCOTT: I want to mention that Gilbert was not

only a master technician, but he really liked sharing his expert know-how about tools and materials with other artists. On and off, through his career, he worked at different art supply stores around Philadelphia. Starting in the early 2000s, he worked

TERENCHIN: So, this is Philadelphia’s gay history.

at Blick.

VALERIO: Yes, and it’s also a queer view of art

VALERIO: This is a good place to end. There are

history. Many of the nudes bring me back to

some beautiful portraits by Gilbert that will be in

some of your remarks, Jody, about the profound

our exhibition of a young man named Dave who

inspiration Gilbert found in the old masters

worked with Gilbert at Blick. We have a sensitive

and his love for great museums like the Prado.

pencil drawing in Woodmere’s collection, and

Reclining is carnal in a way that reminds me of a

there’s a very mysterious portrait of Dave with a

Titian or Giorgione painting of Venus. The figure

forest-like background that we’re borrowing from a

seems just poured onto a high white bed, and

private collection. At Blick, as everywhere, Lewis’s

I don’t think the white bedding is an accident.

work is charged with the energy of the people who

Giorgione’s famous Venus reclines on a white sheet

became part of his life. Thank you, everyone, this

to symbolize the purity of sexual love. This isn’t to

has been a terrific conversation.

say that Gilbert necessarily studied symbolism in Renaissance painting (although he could have), but he understood how meaning comes from pose, composition, line, and color. Finally, there’s Tribute, which is a large-scale, ambitious, multifigure work that was shown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Clockwise from top left: Untitled, October 1985 (Courtesy of John Wind); Seated Nude, c. 1989 (Gift of Eric Rymshaw, 2018; Untitled [Portrait of Dave], c. 2010-12 (Gift of Eric Rymshaw, 2017)

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Untitled [Dave], c. 2010-2012 (Courtesy of Bradley N. Richards)

GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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SELECTED CHRONOLOGY 1945 Born September 25 to David Blake Lewis (of Atlanta) and Gladys Louise Braddy Lewis (of Sanford, Florida). Gilbert has two siblings, David Blake Lewis, Jr. and Linda Lewis. The family resides at 3 South Linden Street in Hampton, Virginia.

“I studied from the age of seven, in Virginia, with two well-known Tidewater artists, Jean Craig and the late Allan Jones. The teaching methods of carefully observed studies from nature in charcoal or tempera paint, derived, of course, from the original French academic model, conveyed its impact on my early development; however, my eye and consciousness were mostly activated by the reproductions on the studio wall of works by Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo.” 1 1963–68 Studies at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Franklin Watkins, Hobson Pittman, Morris Blackburn, and Walter Stuempfig. While enrolled at PAFA, shares an apartment at 261 South 21st

Gilbert Lewis around age 7. Photograph courtesy of the Gilbert Lewis Archive.

Street with fellow students Jody Pinto and Barbara Sosson.

1974

Receives PAFA’s Bergman Prize in Painting, M.

Awarded a bachelor of fine arts degree from the

Herbert Syme Prize, and the Cresson Memorial

Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of

Travel Scholarship in 1967. The last enables Lewis

the Arts) on May 31.

to travel that summer to Europe, where he visits a number of museums.

“In 1967, after having seen the Italian masters’ work while on scholarship from the Pennsylvania Academy, I was to realize my great influences and to discover the earlier Sienese masters whose clarity and energy still move me.” 2 30

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“Since art school I’ve turned from oil to media of gouache and pencil, separately and sometimes together. I’m trying to discover for myself the power of observation without sacrificing the passion of the art materials.” 3


1977 Participates in the American Projective Drawing Institute’s Annual Summer Institute run by Emanuel F. Hammer, PhD.

1978 Receives a master’s degree in creative arts in therapy from Hahnemann University, Philadelphia. His thesis project is “The Spontaneous Art Productions of an Institutionalized Geriatric Population.” About this time, becomes an art therapist at Manchester House Nursing Center in Media, Pennsylvania. He will continue this work through the 1990s.

Above: Gilbert Lewis (shortest) as a child in a play. Photograph courtesy of the Gilbert Lewis Archive.

GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Lewis shaving a resident at Manchester House, c. 1980s–90s. Photograph courtesy of the Gilbert Lewis Archive.

“A nursing home is basically an orphanage for elderly adults. It’s a place where people don’t really have their families anymore and visiting relatives and the staff constantly tell them what to do and don’t stop to hear what they have to say. When I was with them doing their portraits we were one-on-one and we were free to talk about whatever they wanted, with assurance that it would remain confidential. They often told me things even their children didn’t know. […] Both the young men and elderly people who sat for me had a sense of trust because I listened to them and didn’t run away. Some of the young models would bring CDs or tapes of their favorite music to play while we sat.” 4 32

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All portraits clockwise from top left: Untitled, date unknown (Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017)


1986 Travels to Italy, including Florence and Venice.

1988 Autumn (1987) acquired by Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“I always painted from live models in gouache, watercolor or oil. The portraits were always completed while the model was still sitting; I only touched up the backgrounds, but never the figures.” 5 1991 Receives Registered Art Therapist certification from the American Art Therapy Association.

1992 Applies to the American Academy in Rome, Philadelphia Regional Visiting Artists Program Lives at 322 South Street, Philadelphia.

“One of my motivations in painting has been to celebrate the beginning of adulthood for the young and the final period of life for the old,” Gilbert observes. “What struck me is that both young men and the old are ignored by society. Despite our ostensible focus on youth, young men are in a sort of nether world, no longer teenagers and yet not full adults. They’re in transition with no established identity and no real place in society.” 6 1994 By May, lives at 1804 Catharine Street (until January 2017).

Top: Gilbert and Douglas Bealer in Italy, 1988. Photograph by Marie Tellini. Photograph courtesy of the Gilbert Lewis Archive.; Bottom: Gilbert Lewis (standing right), George Stavrinos (19481990 standing left), and unidentified man (kneeling), May 1, 1986, at opening of Stavrinos’ solo exhibition at Twentieth Century, 262 Newbury Street, Boston. Photograph courtesy of the Gilbert Lewis Archive. GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Undated photograph of Lewis at his easel. Photograph courtesy of the Gilbert Lewis Archive.

“My inspiration for this series [of portraits] came from the work of the nineteenthcentury painter, George Catlin, who painted portraits of the American Indians. My portraits serve to commemorate the “tribe” of contemporary creative youth. Most of the studies were painted from life, originally using transparent and opaque watercolors, and in the past five years the series began to include oil studies on panels. In the watercolor paintings, the forms emerge from multiple layers of color, which have an intensity and a luminosity equal to oil painting on canvas, but demands the additional challenge of maintaining the integrity of the paper’s fragile surface. My oil studies, consisting of many layers of oil glazes over an underpainting, approach a look more like the oil paintings of Catlin that had originally inspired me, but these studies seem to have an additional intense almost icon-like quality.” 8

1999

2007

At about this time, begins teaching certificate and

Serves as a juror for the Annual Juried Exhibition at

continuing education classes at the Pennsylvania

William Way LGBT Community Center, along with

Academy of the Fine Arts.

Robert Goodman and Shelley Spector.

“My good fortune was that my young models really appreciated the fact that an adult person was actually there for them and not telling them what to do. I never gave them explicit instructions other than to tell them where to sit or stand. I let them decide how they would do it–I took the queue (sic) from each model.” 7

Teaches Drawing Fundamentals at the William Way

2002 At about this time, begins working at Blick art supply store, Philadelphia; continues through about 2014. 34

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LBGT Community Center.

2017–18 Moves from his home on Catharine Street, Philadelphia, to the Watermark, and then to Wyncote House.


Clockwise from top right: Untitled, c. 1975 (Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017); Untitled, c. 1981-1985 (Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017); Untitled, c. 1976-78 (Courtesy of John Wind)

GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS “I wish that the exhibition could have colored strings connecting the young men who modeled for me with the models who recommended them and the friends they recommended in turn. It would make a very interesting story.” 9 1976

1986 Gilbert Lewis, Twentieth Century Gallery, Boston, closed July 2, 1986.

1987 Gilbert Lewis: Paintings and Drawings, Mitchell Hall Gallery at West Chester University, West Chester,

La Terrasse Restaurant, Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania, November 4–25, 1987.

1979

1988

Summer Stock, Eric Makler Gallery, Philadelphia,

Gilbert Lewis: Paintings and Drawings, Gross

July 9–August 1979

McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, October 19–November 5, 1988.

1981 Gilbert Lewis, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine

1994

Arts, Philadelphia, March 5–27, 1981.

Gilbert Lewis: Watercolors and Gouache Paintings, Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, April 10–May 1, 1994.

1982 Gilbert Lewis: Recent Gouaches, Butcher and More

2004

Galleries, Philadelphia, May 14–June 5, 1982.

Gilbert Lewis: Becoming Men, Leslie-Lohman Foundation, New York, March 9–April 17, 2004.

1983 Noel Butcher Gallery, Philadelphia, September 9–

2007

October 5, 1983.

Gilbert Lewis: Portraits, William Way LGBT Community Center, Philadelphia.

1985 Noel Butcher Gallery, Philadelphia, January 5–30,

2020

1985.

Gilbert Lewis: Many Faces, Many Figures, Woodmere Art Museum, July 25–October 25; Gilbert Lewis: The Mind of Man. Portraits 1982–2009, Kapp Kapp, September 11–October 24, 2020; and Only Tony: Portraits of Gilbert Lewis, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, November 19, 2020–May 16, 2021.

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SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 1967

1976

Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia.

South Philadelphia Artists Group Show, Provident National Bank, Philadelphia.

1969 Process: Works in Various Media by Artists under

1978

30, Philadelphia Art Alliance Third Floor Gallery,

The Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the

Philadelphia, May 1969.

Fine Arts, Annual Juried Exhibition, Museum of the Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia.

1972 The Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the

1980

Fine Arts, Annual Juried Exhibition, Woodmere Art

Summer Stock, Eric Makler Gallery, Philadelphia.

Museum, Philadelphia.

1981 1973

Works on Paper, Philadelphia Art Alliance,

Three-Artist Exhibition, Revsin Gallery, Philadelphia.

Philadelphia.

1975

1982

14th Regional Art Exhibition, Student Center,

Portraits, More Gallery, Philadelphia, July 12–August

University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, January

1, 1982; Annual Juried Exhibition, Pennsylvania

25–February 23, 1975; Regional: Oil and Acrylic,

Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Flower

Philadelphia Art Alliance, January 10–February

Paintings, Picture Framers Gallery, Media,

9, 1975; The Fellowship of the Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania.

Academy of the Fine Arts, Annual Juried Exhibition, Woodmere Art Museum; Group Exhibition of Paintings, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia;

1983

Painters Look At Philadelphia, Gross McCleaf

Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine

Gallery, Philadelphia; Drawings, Watercolors &

Arts, Annual Exhibition, Philadelphia Art Alliance,

Small Sculptures, Woodmere Art Museum with the

March 25–April 23, 1983; 43rd Annual Juried

Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine

Exhibition, Member’s Exhibition, Woodmere Art

Arts, November 16–December 14, 1975.

Museum, April 10–May 8, 1983.

GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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1984

1989

21st Biennial Exhibition, University of Delaware,

Allied Artists of America, Inc., 76th Annual Juried

Newark, Delaware, February 6–March 2, 1984;

Exhibition, National Arts Club, New York; Stedman

Rutgers National 84/84 Exhibition, Stedman Art

Arts Gallery at Rutgers University, Camden, New

Gallery at Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey,

Jersey, closed July 22, 1989; National Drawing ’89:

March 12–April 28, 1984; Persona: Nine Philadelphia

Juried Exhibition, Trenton State College, Trenton,

Artists, Kling Gallery, Philadelphia, July 30–August

New Jersey; Works on Paper, Perkins Center for

24, 1984.

the Arts, Moorestown, New Jersey, October 27– November 19, 1989; 20th Annual Summer Exhibit,

1985 Annual Juried Exhibition, Perkins Center for the

Gross-McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia.

Arts, Moorestown, New Jersey; 45th Annual Juried

1990

Exhibition, Woodmere Art Museum, April 14–May 19,

Contemporary Philadelphia Artists: A Juried

1985.

Exhibition, Philadelphia Museum of Art, April 22– July 8, 1990; Refigure: Extensions of the Figurative

1986

Tradition, Levy Gallery at Moore College of Art, Philadelphia; Goforth Rittenhouse Galleries,

Annual Juried Exhibition, Perkins Center for the

Philadelphia; National Arts Club, New York; Ninth

Arts, Moorestown, New Jersey; Return of the Figure:

Annual City of Camden Art Exhibition, Stedman Art

A Pennsylvania Perspective, Southern Alleghenies

Gallery at Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey,

Museum of Art, Loretto, Pennsylvania; Seventh

closed July 21, 1990.

Annual Juried Exhibition, Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, New Jersey, closed May 2, 1986.

1987

1991 Tenth Annual City of Camden Art Exhibition, Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey;

The Figure as Subject, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia; The Flower in Twentieth-Century

Philadelphia Juvenilia: The Art of Future Past, Moore

American Art, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art,

College of Art, Philadelphia, September 6–October

Loretto, Pennsylvania.

13, 1991; Arcadia College, Glenside, Pennsylvania; James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown,

1988 The Twenty-First Juried Show, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania, January 17– February 28, 1988; Rutgers National 87/88: Works on Paper, Stedman Art Gallery at Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey, March 7–April 30, 1988; Annual Juried Exhibition, Woodmere Art Museum. 38

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Pennsylvania; Wallingford Community Arts Center, Wallingford, Pennsylvania; Annual Juried Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


1992

1998

The Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of

135th Annual Exhibition of Small Oil Paintings,

the Fine Arts, Annual Juried Exhibition, Woodmere

Philadelphia Sketch Club, March 22–April 26, 1998;

Art Museum, closed January 5, 1992; American

Juried Exhibition, Perkins Center for the Arts,

Drawing Biennial, Muscarelle Museum of Art,

Moorestown, New Jersey.

Williamsburg, Virginia, April 11–May 24, 1992; Pertaining to Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, May 16–August 16, 1992; 23rd Juried Show,

1999

Allentown Museum of Art, Allentown, Pennsylvania;

Annual Faculty Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of

Cheltenham Art Center, Cheltenham, Pennsylvania;

the Fine Arts.

Juried Exhibition, Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, New Jersey; Philadelphia Watercolor Club.

2000 Annual Faculty Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

1993 Main Line Center for the Arts, Haverford, Pennsylvania; Abington Art Center, Abington, Pennsylvania; Woodmere Art Museum; Delaware County Community College, Media, Pennsylvania.

2001 Annual Faculty Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Gloucester County College, Sewell, New Jersey; Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club, March 25–April 29, 2001.

1994 Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia; Annual Juried Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Delaware County Community College.

1995 Delaware County Community College, Media,

2002 Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club,

2003 Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club.

Pennsylvania; Annual Juried Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Philadelphia Art Alliance

2004 Juried Exhibition, Perkins Center for the Arts,

1996 Rutgers National: Works On/Of Paper, Stedman Art Gallery at Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey,

Moorestown, New Jersey; Annual Juried Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club.

March 11–April 27, 1996; Drawing, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts; Philadelphia Art Alliance. GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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2005

2019

Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club.

Stonewall @ 50, Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Drexel

2006

University, Philadelphia, June 28–July 26, 2019; Fifty Years Since Stonewall, Woodmere Art Museum,

Annual Juried Show, William Way LGBT Community

June 15–November 3, 2019; Golden Slippers: Images

Center, Philadelphia.

of the Mummers from Woodmere’s Collection, Woodmere Art Museum, November 23, 2019–April

2007

26, 2020.

Annual Faculty Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

2020 Fully Saturated, Woodmere Art Museum, January

2014 Lilies, Figs and Folly: Contemporary Still Life Paintings and Works on Paper, Cerulean Arts Gallery, November 26–December 21, 2014.

2017 A More Perfect Union: Power, Sex, and Race in the Representation of Couples, Woodmere Art Museum, February 4–May 21, 2017; Recent Acquisitions, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Cerulean Arts Gallery.

2018 Constructing Identity in America (1766–2017), Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey, September 1, 2018–January 5, 2019.

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18–June 28, 2020; Morris Blackburn (1902–1979) and His Legacy: Painter, Printmaker, Writer, Teacher, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, New Jersey, January 22 – February 21, 2020.


1

Gilbert Lewis in Contemporary Philadelphia Artists: A Juried Exhibition (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum

of Art, 2000), 145. 2

Lewis., Contemporary Philadelphia Artists, 145.

3

Lewis., Contemporary Philadelphia Artists, 145.

4

Gilbert Lewis quoted in Becoming Men: Portrait Paintings by Gilbert Lewis by Christian Bain, in The

Archive: Journal of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, issue 12 (2004). 5

Lewis, The Archive.

6

Lewis, The Archive.

7

Lewis, The Archive.

8

Gilbert Lewis, undated artist statement.

9

Lewis, The Archive.

Untitled, October 1985 (Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017) GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION All works are by Gilbert Lewis (American, born 1945).

Untitled, c. 1975 Gouache on paper, 25 1/2 x 19 3/4 in. Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017

Untitled, c. 1976-78 Acrylic on paper, 24 x 18 in. Courtesy of John Wind

Untitled, April 6, 1981 Gouache and graphite on cream laid paper, 11 1/2 x 9 in. Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Untitled [Dennis Dunwoody], October 10, 1981 Gouache on paper, 30 x 22 ¼ in. Museum purchase, 2020

Untitled, November 1981 Gouache and graphite on cream laid paper, 11 5/8 x 9 in. Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Untitled [Dennis Dunwoody], December 2, 1981 Gouache on paper, 30 x 22 ½ in. Museum purchase, 2020

Untitled, c. 1981-1985 Gouache and graphite on cream laid paper, 11 3/4 x 9 in. Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Untitled, c. 1981-1985 Gouache and graphite on cream laid paper, 11 1/2 x 9 in. Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

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Untitled, August 1985 (Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017)

Untitled, c. 1981-1985 Gouache and graphite on cream laid paper, 11 x 8 1/2 in.

Untitled, c. 1981-1985 Gouache and graphite on Arches watercolor paper, 13 7/8 x 9 3/4 in.

Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017


Clockwise from top left: Untitled, c. 1981-1985; Untitled, April 6, 1981; Untitled, c. 1981-1985; Untitled, November 1981 (Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017)

GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Untitled, c. 1981-1985 Gouache and graphite on Arches watercolor paper, 14 x 11 in.

Untitled, c. 1981-1985 Gouache on cream matboard, 11 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.

Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Untitled, c. 1981-1985 Gouache and graphite on on cream laid paper, 11 5/8 x 9 in.

Untitled, c. 1981-1985 Gouache on cream matboard, 13 1/4 x 13 in.

Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Untitled, c. 1981-1985 Gouache on cream matboard, 12 x 9 1/2 in.

Manuel Bora, 1982 Gouache and graphite on orange/ brown laid paper, 12 x 9 in.

Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Untitled, February 2, 1982 Gouache on paper, 22 1/4 x 30 in. Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017

Untitled [Dennis Dunwoody], February 22, 1982 Gouache on paper, 30 x 22 ½ in. Courtesy of Victor and Anne DiMezza

Untitled [Dennis Dunwoody], July 15, 1982 Gouache on paper, 30 x 22 ½ in. Private Collection

Untitled, February 14, 1982 Gouache on Arches Satine paper, 22 1/2 x 15 in. Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017

Left: Manuel Bora, 1982; Above: Untitled, c. 1981-1985, (Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017)

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Untitled, c. 1982 Gouache on Arches Satine paper, 30 1/4 x 22 1/2 in. Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017

Untitled, August 25, 1983 Gouache on paper, 44 1/2 x 30 in. Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Noël Butcher Hanley, 2016

Untitled, August 1983 Gouache on Arches Satine paper, 22 1/2 x 15 in. Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017

Tribute, September 5, 1984 Gouache on paper, 39 x 59 1/2 in. Museum purchase, 2017

Still Life with Tulip, 1984 Gouache on Arches paper, 22 x 30 in. Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017

Untitled, c. 1984 Gouache on paper, 19 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.

Untitled, c. 1981-1985 (Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017)

Private Collection

Untitled, August 1985 Gouache and graphite on Arches watercolor paper, 9 5/8 x 8 1/4 in. Gift of Bill Scott in honor of Eric B. Rymshaw, RA, and James G. Fulton, Jr., 2017

Untitled, October 1985 Charcoal and pastel on paper, 44 x 29 3/4 in.

Sick Boy, 1987 Graphite and gouache on paper, 32 x 70 in. Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017

Untitled, 1987 Gouache on paper, 19 1/2 x 16 1/2 in.

Courtesy of Noël Butcher Hanley

Untitled, 1989 Acrylic and pastel on paper, 39 1/2 x 30 1/4 in. Courtesy of John Wind

Private Collection

Courtesy of John Wind

Interior, 1988 Gouache on paper, 40 x 31 1/2 in.

Untitled, October 1985 Graphite and gouache on paper, 13 3/4 x 10 1/4 in.

Gift of Bill Scott, 2016

Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017

Untitled, 1989 Gouache on paper, 17 1/2 x 24 in.

Dancer, 1989 Gouache on paper, 44 x 30 in. Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017

Untitled, 1989 Gouache on paper, 43 x 29 1/4 in. Gift of Eric Rymshaw and James Fulton, 2017

Seated Nude, c. 1989 Graphite and gouache on paper, 59 1/2 x 41 1/2 in. Gift of Eric Rymshaw, 2018

Reclining, 1987 Gouache on paper, 40 x 48 in. Museum purchase, 2016 GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Untitled [Self-Portriat from a Photo Booth Photo], date unknown (Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017)

Untitled [Dave], c. 2010-2012 Gouache on paper, 17 1/2 x 24 in. Courtesy of Bradley N. Richards

Untitled [Portrait of Dave], c. 2010-12 Graphite on paper, 12 x 9 in. Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017

Untitled [Copy of a Greek Portrait, I], date unknown Watercolor on watercolor paper, 12 1/2 x 9 1/8 in.

Untitled [Self-Portrait from a Photo Booth Photo], date unknown Ink wash on paper, 6 1/2 x 5 3/4 in.

Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017

Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017

Untitled [Copy of a Greek Portrait, II], date unknown Watercolor on watercolor paper, 12 1/2 x 9 1/8 in. Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017

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Woodmere Art Museum receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Support provided in part by The Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

Š 2020 Woodmere Art Museum. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Photography provided by Jack Ramsdale unless otherwise noted. Catalogue designed by Christina Warhola and edited by Gretchen Dykstra. Front cover: Untitled, February 2, 1982 (Gift of Eric Barton Rymshaw, 2017) GILBERT LEWIS: MANY FACES, MANY FIGURES

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Profile for Woodmere Art Museum

Gilbert Lewis: Many Faces, Many Figures  

Gilbert Lewis: Many Faces, Many Figures is an exhibition at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA, on view July 25 through October 25, 202...

Gilbert Lewis: Many Faces, Many Figures  

Gilbert Lewis: Many Faces, Many Figures is an exhibition at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA, on view July 25 through October 25, 202...