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 Reuben Gambrell  (1917 - 2006)

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Lived/Active: South Carolina/Georgia      Known for: painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Reuben Gambrell (1917-2006)

He was born at Belton, South Carolina, a small town in the Piedmont section.  After graduationg from the local school system, he enrolled at the University of South Carolina, majoring in art and English.  While already eyeing a career in art when he was in high school, Gambrell became seriously interested in painting during his junior year in college.

He began studying with Lamar Dodd, artist-in-residence at the University of Georgia in 1938, and served as graduate assistant in the Art Department while working for his Master of Fine Arts Degree.  Upon graduation in 1940, he stayed at the university as an art instructor and painted landscapes and portraits in oil during his free time.  The Federal Government also comissioned him to decorate the Rockmart, Georgia post office.

Gambrell entered the Army in 1942, and was eventually sent overseas as an intelligence clerk in a photo squadron.  He devoted most of his free time to a series of drawings and watercolors of army life and the tropical scene during a year's tour of duty on Espiritu Santo.  Gambrell continued the series during an eight month stay on Bougainville in 1944.  This series of paintings was exhibited under the sponsorship of the University of Georgia at museums and galleries throughout the South and Mid-West, ending with the honor of a solo show at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.  Gambrell is quoted as modestly saying: "The critis, with the tolerance displayed by most civilians to servicemen, were kind."

He won several prices and awards in Servicemen competions and was offered a post-war instructor position under his mentor Lamar Dodd at the University of Georgia, later also teaching at Telfair Academy.

Beginning in the early 1950s, his painting took a more Modernist direction with emphasis on shape and line.

Source:
WWII Army art show brochure

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