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 Charlotte (Bernice) Gilbertson  (1922 - )

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Florida      Known for: abstract painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted by Colin Kegler:

A 20th Century abstract painter of Greek mythology, images of animals, Oriental landscapes, and neo-Primitivist images of Papua, New Guinea, Gilbertson traveled the world, and divides her time between Harwichport, Cape Cod, Massachusetts and West Palm Beach, Florida.  She was born on November 22, 1922 in Boston (Roslindale), Massachusetts.

Exhibitions:
1949    Galeria Mai, 12 Rue Bonaparte, Paris VI France       
1960     Burr Gallery, 115 West 55th Street, New York City       
1961     Pratt Graphics, New York City (prints)           
1962     The Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA       
1964     PVI Gallery, 72 East 73rd Street, New York City (solo)       
1965     Institute of Contemporary Arts, Philadelphia, PA (Invitational)    
1966     Fishbach Gallery, New York City (Invitational)   
1967     Flint College Museum, Flint, Michigan (Invitational)
1968     Finch College Museum, New York City (Invitational)   
1968-9 Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York (Invitational)   
1971     Bodley Gallery, New York City (solo)   
1972     Erik Nord Gallery, Nantucket, MA(solo; Also from 1973-1978 Each Summer).
1974     Iolas Gallery, 25 East 55th St., New York City (Invitational)
1977     Bodley Gallery II, New York City (solo).       
1878     As You Like It Gallery, 240 Worth Ave., Palm Beach Florida (solo)   
1978     Irving Gallery, Worth Ave., Palm Beach Florida (Group show)   
1978     Pace University Gallery, New York City (Invitational)   
1978     St. Peter's College Gallery, Jersey City New Jersey (Invitational)   
1979     Lilley Gallery, Main Street, Harwich Port MA (solo)   
1979     Holly Daly Herman Palm Beach Gallery, Florida (FL Invitational)   
1980     Galeria Bryna, 279 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach, Florida (solo)
1981     Galeria Bryna, 279 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach, Florida (solo)
1981     Flagler Museum, Part of the Artine Artinian Collection           
1982     Petite Fleur, Palm Beach, Florida (solo)
1983     Rollins College, Winter Park,  Florida (Invitational)
1984     Foxworth Gallery, New York City (solo)   
1989     Palm Beach National Bank, Palm Beach, Florida (Invitational)
1991     Northwood College Gallery, West Palm Beach, Florida (Invitational )   
1998     The National League of American Pen Women Fort Lauderdale Chapter, FL     1998-9  Guild of Harwich Artists, Harwich Port, MA (Group shows in summer   
1998     Cover and drawings published in booklet titled Papus New Guinea             2000     Eissey Campus Gallery, North Palm Beach, Florida (April Group invitational)

Memberships:
Life member of the Art Student's League and a member of VAGA (Visual Arts and Galleries Association.

Charlotte Gilbertson - A Biography:

Post WWII, Paris and the GI Bill, and New York:
Charlotte Gilbertson enlisted in the Armed Forces during WWII as a psychiatric social worker, stationed in New York and in Georgia.  After the war, she had access to the G.I. Bill of Rights, as did many of the brave men and women of my generation.  Charlotte used it to promote her education.  She graduated from Boston College’s School of Fine Arts in 1948 and then moved to New York to be among notable artists. New York City was brimming over with abstract expressionist painters at the time, but she was more interested in "constructive design" not found in America.  Charlotte wanted to develop a stronger sense of "design" in her work, to engage "the new" and "the modern".

In 1949, Charlotte went off to Paris on an artistic quest, fascinated by Cezanne's rendering of the Provençal apple.  She studied "le dessin" under the French artist Fernand Léger at his Paris atelier.  Her study with Léger was important.  She found a master and what she sought in Léger. (1)  (He jokingly referred to her as "la petite marine", or "the little sailor", because she wore dungarees, which was unusual for a woman at the time).  Before studying with him, Charlotte could not imagine how Cézanne had painted an object that looked like an apple but was unlike any apple that she had ever seen. After working with him, she developed the insight needed to bring "design" to a canvas.

Once Charlotte had begun to master the thought patterns that she desired for her work, she returned to New York City in 1951, where she lived for several years.  Charlotte found employment in an array of diverse positions to sustain herself in New York City. During the winters, she worked; during the summers, she painted.  This seasonal cycle of employment and painting lasted from 1951 to 1974 and again from 1977 to 1979.  From 1962 to 1974, Charlotte most notably worked as an assistant director and, later, as director of The Alexander Iolas Gallery in New York City. (The gallery no longer exists in Manhattan, but it was primarily known for showing Max Ernst, René Magritte and other Surrealists) (2)  Through the Iolas Gallery, Charlotte met and befriended Andy Warhol and appeared in Warhol’s 1964 film, “Kiss”.

World Travel and Travels, Interrupted:
In 1976, Charlotte took a polar route around the world, following the sun, and spent over a year traveling the world, visiting Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Bali, Burma, India, Nepal, the Middle East, Turkey and Greece.  She also revisited much of Europe, including a special trip to the North Cape and a tour of Finland, Sweden and Norway. Charlotte’s excursions were curtailed in 1980, when she was needed at home to take care of her parents until their natural deaths.

World Travels Resumed, New Artistic Influences:
Again1990, Charlotte resumed her travels to many other countries, including Belize and
Tikal. She also spent a considerable amount of time in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Australia, as well as Bali, India and Nepal.  Her explorations in Nepal include treks of the Annapurna Circuit and safaris by elephant in Nepal's Chitwan National Park.  She spent time in Tibet, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, ending her journeys in Western Europe with extended time in Paris and London before returning home.  Her travels in South Asia significantly influenced her artwork from then onward.

Charlotte Now (2007):
Charlotte is still an active painter, working with mixed media and doing small works on paper and canvas. She has done a number of line drawings and a number of series of works on paper.  She completed a series of work of her memory-impressions of Papua New Guinea, 50" x 72".  She also completed a series of work on wood panels, employing gold leaf and other mixed media.

Notes:
1. In 1952, a pair of Léger murals was installed in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations headquarters in New York, New York.  Some of Léger's works are found at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City.  In November of 2003, his painting, La femme en rouge et vert sold for $22,407,500 USD, and his sculptures have been selling in excess of 8 million dollars.
2. Opened by the French artist himself, the Alexander Iolas Gallery was located near 15 E. 55th Street in Manhattan, New York City.  A host of international expatriate artists and avant-garde artists of the '60s and early '70s were invited to display their work there.  Some of these artists include William Copley, Robert Matta, Edward Ruscha, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Harold Stevenson, a friend of Andy Warhol.


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