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 John Gerdes  (1913 - 2001)

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Lived/Active: Florida / Germany      Known for: non ob, assemblage

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Ad Code: 4
John Gerdes
from Auction House Records.
The Fifteenth Century.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Kimberly Ramsey:

I am one of Mr. Gerdes' 5 grandchildren. John Diedrich Gerdes died on 1/3/2001 at 5 AM in a Reva, VA nursing home of pneumonia-related health problems. He had a wife of 56 years who preceded him in death in 1996. Her name was Dorothy Elizabeth Needham Gerdes. They had 6 children together - 5 are survivors. There is John, of Kingman AZ; Tom of Cleveland OH; Michael of Jacksonville FL; Dianne Hermanson of Culpeper VA; and Susanne Ramsey of Columbia Township, OH. William died in 1969 of cancer at the age of 17.

Mr. Gerdes did not discover his talent in folk-art until the 1970's when he retired and moved his family to Maitland, FL. Prior to the move, he had lived all but 1 year of his life in Cleveland, OH. Originally, John was from Bremen, West Germany. He came from West Germany with his mother and sister Gaysey. (We called her Aunt Daisey.) He has 2 sisters who are still alive in the Cleveland, OH area who were born in the USA. Their names are May and Dorothy.

He rarely if ever spoke with his family. He was completely enveloped in his art and himself. He did over 250 paintings, making paint look like inlaid wood in most paintings using a specific combination of oil paint and flat beer.

About 10 years ago, he was diagnosed with macular degeneration and rapidly lost his eyesight. The family is not sure which piece is his last work.

He was a legend in his own mind for many years. I have one of his paintings and it is not one of his typical inlaid-wood paintings. He was a wonderful artist, but definitely not a family man.

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