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Walt Walter Gonske

 (born 1942)
Walt (Walter) Gonske is active/lives in New Mexico, New York, New Jersey.  Walt Walter Gonske is known for landscape and still life painting, illustration.

Walt (Walter) Gonske

Biography from the Archives of askART

Walter Gonske was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1942. He studied with the late Frank Reilly at the Art Students League in New York. At the age of thirty he gave up his successful career as a fashion illustrator in New York City and moved to Taos, New Mexico to paint landscapes. "It was the best move I've ever made," says Gonske in the book "40 Watercolorists and How They Work" by Susan E. Meyer.

Gonske has received many awards for his watercolors including First Prize and Honorable Mention from the Southwest Watercolor Society and a $2500. Stacey Grant.

Gonske's work has been exhibited at the Eiteljorg Museum, Gilcrease Museum, and the Prix de West Invitational at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.


Susan E. Meyer, "40 Watercolorists and How They Work," Watson-Guptill Publications

Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, 2003

Biography from Nedra Matteucci Galleries
Walt Gonske was born and raised in New Jersey. After graduating from the Newark School of Fine Arts, he studied with the famous illustrator, Frank Reilly, and at the Art Students League in New York.  He was a successful commercial illustrator before deciding to move to Taos, New Mexico, in 1972, to pursue a career in fine art.

Gonske began his work in fine art by painting watercolors from photographs. Though he still works with watercolor from time to time, the intensity of color and light in New Mexico has led him to shift to oils and to working outdoors.  Gonske's plein-air paintings are a direct result of his emotional response to his subject.  His technique is direct and bold, resulting in a dynamic, brilliant composition infused with intense color and light.  Gonske interprets nature through his paintings; he does not attempt to reproduce it. 

Gonske has no favorite colors.  He uses them all to capture the sky, trees and streams as they exist in our most vivid memories.  His landscapes are not limited to the environs of Taos.  Gonske has painted the magnificent scenery, market scenes and churches of Mexico, Portugal, Italy, Guatemala and China. 

Gonske has received numerous awards for his paintings, including first prize from the Southwestern Watercolor Society, the gold and silver medals for oil painting from the National Academy of Western Art, and the bronze medal for drawing from that organization.

His paintings are included in museums around the country, including the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art, the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center.

Nedra Matteucci Galleries, representing Walt Gonske

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, II
Painter, born in Newark, New Jersey in 1942 and living Taos, New Mexico since 1972. In his oils, his aim is to preserve the past by making a visual record of the old structure and scenes of the Southwest before they are destroyed. "Time hasn't yet changed in the West as it has in the East," he says. "The super reality is still here, and so is a new breed who appreciates it."

After graduating from the Newark School of Fine Arts, Gonske studies with Frank Reilly, a famous illustrator, and later at the Art Students League in New York City. He then became a free-lance illustrator in New York, fulfilling commissions for top publications including Esquire, Life, Playboy, and The New Yorker.

"An illustrator's background is great training," he declares, "but it's a dead end if you don't move on. An artist grows and changes simply because he is creative. If he doesn't, he might as well put his materials in cold storage."

In New Mexico, "all my drawing and paintings are done in my studio, working from 35mm slides taken with a Nikon FTN camera. This gives me great depth of field. When I find what interest me on a scouting trip, I fire off the camera a hundred times. I'll pick-out several shots for paintings and more often than not, I'll use them pretty much as they were taken, changing composition, values, or color when necessary. I also might work from two slides, using the background from one and the center of interest from another." Gonske is a member of the National Academy of Western Art.

Resource: Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd's Inc., Washington, D.C.

Biography from The Adobe Fine Art
Born and raised in Irvington, New Jersey, Walt Gonske first attended art school in Newark. His art studies were interrupted by his service in the Enlisted Reserves and several years as an illustrator for various advertising agencies. Walt resumed his art studies at the Frank Reilly School of Art in New York City then worked as a free-lance illustrator in the fashion field.

It was in 1971 that Walt first visited Taos, New Mexico and came under the spell of the "Land of Enchantment". "I began to wonder what it would be like to live in northern New Mexico, paint landscapes, and maybe even sell some," states the artist. "Moving out here was, without a doubt the smartest decision I ever made", which he did in 1972. Soon thereafter he became a founding member of the famed "Taos Six".

Walt is a recipient of many prestigious awards, not the least of which are Bronze, Silver & Gold medal awards at the National Academy of Western Art in Oklahoma City, OK.

Walt Gonske has been the subject of many feature articles in numerous publications such as Art of the West, 2010, 2005 & 1996, American Artist, 2003, Wildlife Art, 2002, Modern Art Impressionists, 1992, Southwest Art, 1985, and Contemporary Western Artist, 1982.

His captivating paintings describing the beauty and charm of the multi-cultural region of northern New Mexico is the focus of his new book titled Walt Gonske Paintings of the High Desert.

Biography from Claggett/Rey Gallery
Walt Gonske has been described as a landscape artist whose paintings, "delight our eyes, ignite our memories and inspire fresh visions." It is an accolade that compliments Gonske's goal to "make a visual record of this beautiful country before it's gone." Brushstrokes of rich color applied loosely to the canvas in beautiful, nearly abstract compositions make up Gonske's signature style.

His images are always completed in just one sitting. Gonske studied at the Frank Reilly School of Art in New York City. The late Reilly gave him solid training in illustration. After a number of years as an illustrator in New York, he moved to Taos in 1972, where he began to work almost exclusively on location.

Frustrated by the limitations inclement weather imposed on his painting in plein-air, he set about customizing a Ford pickup into a "paintmobile," or rather, a studio on wheels. This mobile studio is stocked with canvases of various sizes and textures, and allows him to go on painting trips throughout California, Colorado, or wherever the road may lead.

Biography from Trailside Galleries
A highly successful illustrator in New York City, Walt Gonske studied at the Art Students League before making the move to Taos, New Mexico in 1972. Since then, he has been widely recognized for his impressionistic paintings, particularly his southwest interpretations of the rich and colorful Northern New Mexico landscape. He has also drawn much inspiration from trips to Portugal, Italy, Guatemala and the south of France.

An exhibitor at the annual Prix De West show in Oklahoma City, Walt has also been featured at such prestigious venues as the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

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Walt Gonske

About  Walt (Walter) Gonske

Born:  1942 - Newark, New Jersey
Known for:  landscape and still life painting, illustration