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 Gregory Perillo  (1929 - )

About: Gregory Perillo
 

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: western genre, animal, sports, military and Indian portrait painting

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Ad Code: 3
Gregory Perillo
from Auction House Records.
Mangus Coloradus
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Greenwich Village, New York, Gregory Perillo is a western painter and sculptor, who continues to live in New York but who makes frequent trips West to refresh his vision. He was one of the first western artists to combine portraits of animals and humans on canvas; in fact he does all facets of the American West including wildlife in a style that combines realism and impressionism. One of his early mentors was William Robinson Leigh.

Perillo grew up on Staten Island, the second child of Italian immigrants who were the only family in their neighborhood among German-Norwegian people. As a young child, he showed artistic talent, and he drew pictures of many of the stories his father told him from his American history classes he took to become an educated citizen. The young Perillo enrolled briefly in art school, but played hooky and then joined the Navy in 1944, serving for two years on the U.S.S. Storm King. On one leave, he went home with a Navy buddy to a ranch in Montana where he first spent time with Indian people.

Back in New York, he married Mary Venitti, and the groom worked in a garment factory and earned his high-school degree and began attending evening art classes. In 1950, the couple headed West, and in Sedona, Perillo met William Leigh whose work Perillo had seen at the Grand Central Galleries in New York. Leigh had a studio in New York, and Perillo began visiting him there and spent the next five years, until Leigh's death in 1955, studying with him.

After Leigh's death, Perillo began selling his work in earnest, especially through his association in the Hudson Valley Art Association, galleries in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and the Wally Findlay Galleries in New York. In the 1970s, he began making sculpture, ultimately creating nearly thirty pieces. In 1976, he became a plate artist with his work reproduced by Kern Collectibles of Arizona and then by Vague Shadows, a reproduction company owned by Perillo and Richard Habeeb.

In 1990, American Express commissioned Perillo to paint over fifty oils and sculpt two huge bronzes for its world headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. His work is also in the corporate headquarters of AT&T in Baskin Ridge, New Jersey, the Governor's mansion in Albany, New York and at the University of New Mexico.

Source:
Peggy and Harold Samuels, Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West

Biography from Bob Feller Museum:
Following is a description of a painting by Gregory Perillo titled Feller VS DiMaggio – Original oil painting on canvas - 24” X 36”. The descriptive text was written by Steve and Annette Perillo Javaruski, donors of the painting to the museum.

Gregory Perillo is a world renowned artist and sculptor, known for his Western and Native American art, as well as his Sports, Military and Religious works.

He was born in Greenwich Village, N.Y.C. on March 12, 1927 and moved to Staten Island as a young boy, where he still resides, paints and sculpts. His artwork is exhibited in many museums and corporations across the country.

Mr. Perillo grew up a great sports fan, and was most passionate about baseball and boxing.  At age 11, he drew a color rendering of his idol Joe DiMaggio, and presented it personally to Mr. DiMaggio at a luncheon held at the famed Toots Shor’s Restaurant in N.Y.C. in 1939.  After serving in the U. S. Navy in World War II, he attended Pratt Institute and The School of Visual Arts in New York City to hone his skills.  Over the years, he has painted many sports greats in baseball, basketball, boxing, football, golf, hockey, horse racing, tennis, and soccer.
 
In the 1990s, Mr. Perillo was commissioned to paint Brooks Robinson and Roberto Clemente for two consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award Dinners held in N.Y.C.  Limited edition precious metal cards were reproduced from the paintings and were presented to the guests at each event. His sports artwork of Babe Ruth and Jack Nicklaus was also reproduced by Mitsubishi for PM Cards made of gold, platinum and silver. The artist was also selected to create oil paintings for the inaugural season of the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins new baseball franchises. Again, limited edition lithographs and gold cards were produced from his paintings.  Collector watches and cards of Larry Bird and Ken Griffey Jr., as well as non-sports related works, have been reproduced by The Sun Time Watch Company.

Mr. Perillo’s sports art has displayed at numerous venues, most notably at the Butler Institute of American Art, in Youngstown, Ohio. His one man show, entitled “Canvas Playing Fields” had nearly two dozen original oil paintings, along with his Clemente bronze sculpture.

Most recently, Mr. Perillo created and donated a large bronze sculpture to the United Sports Alliance of Staten Island, New York.  Entitled Spirit of 9-11, it is in tribute to the sports coaches of Staten Island who perished in the 9-11 attacks. The sculpture is on permanent display on the grounds of the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, N.Y.  In 2007, he was commissioned to paint a portrait of the New York Giants football team owner, Wellington Mara, which he presented to Mrs. Wellington Mara in New Jersey, and it hangs today in her home.

The Feller vs. DiMaggio painting was inspired by Mr. Perillo’s two favorite players, Bob Feller and Joe DiMaggio, the greatest pitcher and centerfielder of their time. He, his son-in-law and grandson presented it to Mr. Feller at Brighthouse Network Field in Clearwater, Florida, on March 20, 2005 during the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s annual “Legends of Baseball Game”.  This painting was donated to the Bob Feller Museum, in Van Meter, Iowa, by the Perillo/Javaruski family.


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