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 John Gambino  

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Lived/Active: New York / Italy      Known for: New York city scene painting

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Ad Code: 4
Biography from Kennedy Twentieth Century Art:
The expressions of "Little Jewel" paintings, Park Bench artist and Historical Central Park Scenes are some of the descriptions illustrating the works of John Gambino, an Italian cityscape artist who arrived in New York in 1940.  He remained until 1954, when he recorded summer scenes of New York City.  Gambino always painted in the summer from the vantage point of a park bench painter.

John Gambino's scenes are primarily of Central Park, which include the Duck Pond, Belvedere Castle, the Plaza Hotel, and the Cloisters.  There are also scenes of South Ferry, Brooklyn, and the Lower East Side.  Over 80 paintings exist, painted during the war years and post-war era when the New York skyline consisted of concrete, just before the glass and steel emergence of the new buildings of New York City.

Julien Alberts, a fellow painter and colleague of John Gambino, saved his paintings over the decades.  Little is known of John Gambino other than that he apparently returned to Italy in 1954, and left behind a large body of works with Alberts.  There is some knowledge that Gambino studied at the Art Student's League around this time.

Gambino's 14-year visual record of New York City has a theme of bygone New York. At times, there are lone figures, couples or an elderly person walking past young lovers with the timeless message of the transitory nature of life.  Buildings remain as monuments of human existence in the most developed urban city in the world.  Some buildings in Gambino's paintings have been replaced by the modern structures of our time.  Through the experience of John Gambino's "little jewel paintings" is a haunting wisp of past summers in New York City.

Exhibitions:
"Painting Up the Town: The Art of Armondo Dellasanta and John Gambino", The Italian American Museum, New York, NY, 2006.

Source:
Steve Kennedy, John Gambino's Little Jewel Paintings," "Painting Up the Town: The Art of Armondo Dellasanta and John Gambino (Exhibition Catalogue), New York: The Italian American Museum, 2006. p.21.

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